On a rainy Monday afternoon, baked potato soup was the order of the day.
“We had a great response on the paninis and soups,” Dan Jackson, director of the new Cairn Coffee House, said.
After more than a year of planning and construction, The Cairn officially opened for business Monday with an enthusiastic public reception.
Owned and operated by Winchester's Calvary Christian Church, the coffee house on South Main Street was designed to be a local gathering place, particularly for teens. Tuesday morning customers included a downtown resident relaxing in an armchair with a book and a mom having breakfast with two toddlers.
According to Jackson, about 150 customers showed up on opening day, a few church members, but mostly interested community members and coffee seekers.
“It went really well. Business was great,” Jackson said.
The church did not publicize the official opening, so Jackson said he and the all-volunteer staff were pleasantly surprised with the number of customers.
“It's been a lot busier than we ever expected,” Jackson said.
Because of the positive reception, Jackson said the church will likely hire a few full-time employees.
“We've got a great team of volunteers, but we're going to hire some more people so they can work some more hours and be more consistent,” Jackson said.
Virginia Barbee described the coffee house as “homey” and “inviting.” As a Calvary Christian Church member, she has been visiting the coffee house throughout the development process, and already has a favorite drink, a white chocolate caramel latte.
“I love it,” Barbee said. “People here are really nice. They invite you in.”
Julie Witt and four-year-old Lincoln and two-year-old Kendall stopped in for muffins and hot chocolate after dropping older siblings off at school.
“It's beautiful,” Witt said.
Other customers were sitting quietly, enjoying a drink or working on laptops.
“It's always fun to watch people's reactions when they come inside the building. They're surprised to see something like this here in Winchester,” Jackson said.
Menu items include soups, sandwiches, salads and specialty lattes. Hours are 6:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 6:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and 7:30 to 10 p.m. Saturday. There will be live music on the weekends.
Plans are still under way for a teen center above the coffee house. Jackson said he hopes to have the center completed by Christmas.
For more information, visit www.cairncoffee.com.