Chapel Hill's Southern Season has opened a coffee bar and changed its hours to open at 8 a.m. instead of 10 a.m. six days a week.
The store's new hours are 8 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 8 a.m.-9 p.m. Friday-Saturday and 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Sunday.
The new hours allow customers to take advantage of the store's new coffee bar, which is located just past the coffee and tea sales counters. The coffee bar has 20 different coffees, many from local coffee roasters: Durham-based Counter Culture Coffee, Carrboro Coffee Co. in Carrboro and Raleigh-based Stockton Graham & Co. Plus, they have more than 20 different teas available for brewing.
Coffee bar supervisor Reiko Tanaka explains that they offer drip coffee as well as individual cups of coffee brewed using fresh ground coffee and a coffee filter cone. For the latter, a customer can request any of the dozens of coffee sold in the store. The price difference is $1.65 for 12 ounces of drip coffee versus $2.25-$2.95.
Southern Season became the gourmet food, housewares and mail order behemoth that it is today by starting out as a small store selling gourmet coffee. This may indicate a return to its roots but it also may be responding to a nearby coffee competitor. 3CUPS has been offering coffee brewed to order since it opened several years ago on South Elliot Road.
Southern Season was sold last year to an investment firm, which has plans to expand the business to other markets. Go HERE to read a story I wrote about that last year.