‘A little different, but also a little the same.’ New coffee shop opens in former Saint’s spot

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State College’s coffee culture looks a little different this year, with Elixr Coffee Roasters taking over the long-standing Saint’s Cafe spot on West Beaver Avenue. Saint’s Cafe, which was in operation for more than two decades, closed Dec. 19, and Elixr Coffee Roasters opened its doors in mid-January. But for those worried that the Saint’s Cafe vibe is long gone, director of operations Christine Hughes assures locals that things will remain much the same, only with a few new touches to bring the space and menu into alignment with the Elixr Coffee Roasters brand.

“We have all the same Saint’s staff, so everyone transitioned with us, which has been really nice,” Hughes said. “You’ll probably see familiar baristas when you walk in. (We have) a similar coffee style as what they were using before and the same kinds of drinks, but with some added Elixir drinks that we brought in as well. (There’s) a very similar experience. We encourage people to stay and hang out, and we’ve seen that so much already. People are there doing work or people are there meeting friends. So it’s a little different, but also a little the same.”

Elixr Coffee Roasters just celebrated its 11th anniversary. Founded by Evan Inatome, the brand got its start with one location in Philadelphia, before expanding to include multiple Philadelphia locations and one in Nashville. Inatome had worked with Saint’s Cafe in the past and Saint’s carried Elixr Coffee Roasters’s products, so when he heard the owners were looking to sell, he made an offer.

To revamp the new location, Inatome and his team replaced the cork flooring with stone, added new hemlock wood to the bar and repainted the walls, but kept the same furniture and layout. As for the new drink offerings, seasonal specialty drinks are currently on tap, including a strawberry oat milk latte, house-made butterscotch latte and minty mocha. Customers will also find pastries from The Cakeshop by Tati.

Christina Hughes makes pour over coffee at Elixr on Beaver Avenue in State College on Monday.
Christina Hughes makes pour over coffee at Elixr on Beaver Avenue in State College on Monday.

So what makes Elixr Coffee Roasters stand out among the other coffee shops and cafes in downtown State College? It’s the same elements that Inatome says make the brand stand out in all of its locations.

“It’s a very unique experience,” he said. “We have a really amazing, single-origin coffee program that I’m really proud of. We really invest in finding all kinds of really unique, really special coffees. Some of our direct trade partners have won the Cup of Excellence, which is the highest award a producer can win in any given coffee-producing country. Some of our producers have won year after year in each country. Combine that with our environment and a really unique atmosphere that we believe is cultivating a wabi-sabi feel, with the fantastic coffees that are really unique, and the little details that I think that we put into the entire experience ... there aren’t many places, not even just in State College, but in the country, that can combine all three of those aspects.”

A fresh pour over coffee at Elixr in State College on Monday.
A fresh pour over coffee at Elixr in State College on Monday.

Those little details can be seen in every facet of the cafe experience. For example, Inatome said, order an espresso and customers will find it comes with a seltzer served on custom ceramics, with a rose gold demitasse spoon. The pastries are served on the same ceramics.

“Everyone’s been very sweet and nice and positive,” Hughes said of the customer response thus far. “I think people are enjoying the coffee and happy that a coffee shop is still in the space, even if it isn’t Saint’s. I think we all miss Saint’s, of course, but, so far, the response has been very positive.”

One change that customers especially appreciate? Elixr Coffee Roasters’s expanded hours. The cafe is currently open until 6 p.m., but looking to expand its hours even further.

Learn more about Elixr Coffee Roasters at elixrcoffee.com.

Holly Riddle is a freelance food, travel and lifestyle writer. She can be reached at holly.ridd@gmail.com.

Christine Hughes makes a latte at Elixr on Beaver Avenue in State College on Monday.
Christine Hughes makes a latte at Elixr on Beaver Avenue in State College on Monday.
An order for a customer at Elixr on Beaver Avenue in State College on Monday.
An order for a customer at Elixr on Beaver Avenue in State College on Monday.
Elixr on Beaver Avenue in State College on Monday.
Elixr on Beaver Avenue in State College on Monday.
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