The Great Coffee Adventure: Just a wedding photographer + her coffee-enthusiast husband on an adventure through Pennsylvania; discovering, photographing and otherwise enjoying the unique, independently-owned coffeeshops and cafes of our great state. Coffee makes us happy.
Welcome to the Pump Station Cafe. One of the only free-standing cafes that we have visited, it seemed to stand out among the rest.
Just off the lone stoplight in the middle of Boalsburg. Maybe there’s more than one. However, it is certainly the most significant of stoplights in Boalsburg, for it is surrounded by the Pennsylvania Military Museum and the bronze statues of three ladies who founded Memorial Day in this self-same town.
The Pump Station is a repurposed fueling station in the middle of the historic small town of Boalsburg, PA. While the Pump Station does not memorialize fallen soldiers like the historic attractions surrounding it, the cafe seems to memorialize the long-lost time of gathering by the gas station for a chat with neighbors and friends. This place has a happy sort of nostalgia.
A little gas station/garage that used to shelter cars in need of repair… now takes a turn as a place for human refueling, refreshing and restoration. Massive windows encourage the sunlight to flood in, which we all know gives us necessary vitamin D & improves our moods!
And you know what else improves moods? That’s right – coffee! Here’s Brandon with his words of coffee wisdom.
Espresso: In my opinion, Pump Station Café’s best quality was in their espresso. A lot of cafes try to make Italian espresso, but very few actually get there. You may be wondering why I keep mentioning different types of espressos: single-source, French, Italian, Columbian, African-South American blended, and all this business. A common misconception is that espresso is a flavor of coffee that just happens to be stronger than the rest. Espresso refers to the method in which ANY coffee roast is made. Espresso is created when you force a small amount of nearly boiling water that is under pressure through finely ground coffee beans, creating a very concentrated version of the original. The Italians invented it, and most think they still have the best—and theirs is very hard to reproduce. Pump Station Café’s espresso was very authentic Italian.
Coffee. We got the house blend, which Jillian (the barista) told us was the strongest roast they had. Best way I could describe it is that it was a good cup of coffee, period. I don’t have a lot to say about nuances and undertones and complexity, but I have a lot to say about a very good, strong taste of COFFEE. Sometimes we can get caught up in making our coffee taste like other things, so we can describe it as a hint of deep fruit with a full-bodied ripeness so on and so forth. I appreciate that Pump Station’s coffee tasted like…well, like really good coffee.
Mocha. I must say, this is one of the more interesting mochas I’ve ever had, because they did something I’ve only ever done myself. They made it with Hershey’s syrup. I do not jest. Anyone from PA can pick out that classic, unique Hershey’s taste. Kudos to them— because it’s local!!!
Back to Naomi…. speaking of supporting local, here’s a little local-newspaper controversy. Perfect for perusal with coffee.
We did like Pump Station’s coffee, but their real claim to fame is food. Like this MONSTROUS chocolate chip cookie we enjoyed. I couldn’t decide if the cookie made the coffee better or the coffee made the cookie better. Either way, it was gone in minutes…
Breakfast. Brunch. Lunch. Late Lunch. Second Breakfast. Second Lunch. Afternoon Snack (with a sandwich involved). Who cares what you call it?! You can get real food here and be fully satisfied. One of the specialties here is a chicken salad sandwich. It’s the owner’s personal recipe and they go through 135 pounds per week. That is ALOT of chicken salad. Which tells me, I need to get back over here and try some of that chicken deliciousness!
And maybe pair a chicken salad sandwich + a throwback glass bottle of Coca-Cola. Sounds like a perfect refreshing summer lunch.
The Pump Station Cafe is most certainly a “theme” cafe. Time period: 1950′s. But instead of being the typical 50′s-diner, Pump Station goes the pleasantly unexpected route of casual cafe. And while the theme may be cars and all things automotive, this place rocks the theme without being kitschy or overdone. It’s truly interesting. Innovative.
There were so many things to look at…
Unique bar stools for the solitary patron or laptop-worker.
Everywhere I looked, there was something else auto-related!
Even the lunch menu had a little fuel-for-thought.
On one of the side walls, there is a map of the United States. Patrons are able to pin their hometown on the map. I was in awe of the sheer number of pins!!
You should go there. And put a pin in the map. 130 East Boal Avenue, Boalsburg, PA You can check them out on facebook! They’re open: Mon-Sat, 7am-6pm Sun, 8am-6pm Stay classy, Naomi Elle
PS – There are to-go mugs for the high-octane customer. And a DRIVE-THRU!