Dog River among nation’s top 10 coffeehouses

Dog River Coffee crew gathers on the Oak Street sidewalk. From left: Justin Bahr, Lynette Scribner, Nate DeVol, Kimberly Costello, Marissa Essex, Phebe Annis, and Mica Foster. (The café has outside benches, but the table was moved outside just for the photo.)

Photo by Kirby Neumann-Rea.
Dog River Coffee crew gathers on the Oak Street sidewalk. From left: Justin Bahr, Lynette Scribner, Nate DeVol, Kimberly Costello, Marissa Essex, Phebe Annis, and Mica Foster. (The café has outside benches, but the table was moved outside just for the photo.)

It’s all in the barista.

Quality service and friendliness are the hallmarks of Dog River Coffee’s ranking as one of the nation’s top 10 coffee houses by USA Today newspaper.

Dog River, at 411 Oak St., gained high praise in the national newspaper’s online edition on Feb. 28.

“It’s a love thing,” barista Lynette Scribner said of the honor.

Coffee houses in Chicago, Seattle, Portland, and smaller places such as Canyon, Texas, and Holland, Mich., made the list, compiled by Dave Heilbrunn, who runs the trade show Coffee Fest that promotes specialty coffee. According to USA Today, Heilbrunn works with industry expert Chris Deferio on an annual competition to find the country’s top coffeehouses. They gave their list to USA Today writer Larry Bleiberg.

Learn about avalanches

Dog River Coffee hosts its annual avalanche awareness event tonight at 7 p.m.

U.S. Forest Service and NW Avalanche Center sponsor the presentation, which includes a short film, “A Dozen More Turns” by Amber Seyler, detailing a fatal avalanche accident in Montana.

Roland Emetaz of the U.S. Forest Service will cover identification of avalanche prone terrain; safe route choices in avalanche terrain; basic introduction to avalanche transceivers and how to use them; and group dynamics and how to safely navigate the backcountry in larger groups.

The event is free; coffee and beer are available for sale.

Of Dog River, Heilbrunn said, “This decade-old shop stands out for its staff’s knowledge, speed and friendliness to regulars and newcomers alike. “It’s a great place in a cool town, and the service is awesome. This could very well be America’s best coffee shop.”

“It is always wonderful to receive positive press about our business. It is quite a surprise and very nice when that recognition is in the national press,” owner Nate DeVol said. “The USA today article grew out of our participation in the America’s Best Coffeehouse competition in Seattle the last two years. We have been fortunate to have competed with some other great cafes the last two years in Seattle at Coffee Fest.” Dog River took third in Northwest region in 2012 and second in the region in 2013.

Also on the list:

Muggswigz Coffee and Tea Co., Canton, Ohio; Ipsento, Chicago; Palace Coffee Co., Canyon, Texas; Klatch Coffee, Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.; JP’s Coffee, Holland, Mich.; Peregrine Express, Washington, D.C.; Heart Coffee Roasters, Portland; State Coffee Bar, Seattle; Mudhouse Coffee, Charlottesville, Va.

“I believe that our staff has learned a ton from these experiences and been able to improve our products and service,” DeVol said. “It is great to be mentioned in the same article as two other great Northwest (Slate from Seattle and Heart from Portland). We are humbled and honored to be included in a list of such great coffee houses.”

DeVol was asked about Heilbrunn’s statements about the quality of service for newcomers and regulars alike, and that Dog River “just might be the best coffeehouse in the country.”

“As a group, all of us at Dog River Coffee make it our priority to treat customers with respect no matter if they are someone we have known for years, or have never seen before. Add to this a healthy dose of humor and a great product and I think we offer something special,” he said. “I believe that this is what David Hielbrunn was getting at when he described his experience of Dog River in the USA Today article.”

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See www.co.hood-river.or.us to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge



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