THE STARLAND District welcomed back more than just SCAD students last week. On September 8, Blue Door (click for website), the geeky comic-themed coffee and waffle hut on Bull Street, re-opened its cerulean blue door after a summer sabbatical.
With SCAD students serving as the majority of their clientele, Blue Door follows the ebb and flow of SCAD’s school calendar.
With a chocolate-brown wooden facade and modest l-shaped square footage, Blue Door can be quickly overlooked, as it sits camouflaged among the towering live oaks and historic buildings of Savannah. Its stark blue door serves as a “beacon”, beckoning sleep-deprived collegiates and devoted locals to re-fuel with craft coffee and Belgian waffles.
Blue Door is owned and operated by City Church, which originally congregated on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, near where The Grey is located. At that time, City Coffee was the church’s in-house coffee shop. However, in June 2014, City Church had to relocate, leaving City Coffee in a similar predicament.
City Church’s senior pastor Jim Simpson, whose house was remodeled by the former ABC show Extreme Makeover: Home Edition Savannah, and previous pastor Erik Carpenter, conceptualized their vision of a new coffee shop on Bull Street. Jaycie Holland, a church member and barista, was brought onto the team to finalize the design features and cafe fundamentals.
By mid-October of that same year, the former derelict architecture’s firm office building, left in its original brown exterior, was revitalized and transformed into Blue Door. Why the blue door? Holland, who has managed Blue Door from conception, reports that vibrant blue is City Church’s theme color and the café was named accordingly.
As a Blue Door founder, Holland, who has been diligently mastering the art of coffee for three and a half years, sought to solely share this passion with the shop’s patrons. The original plan to serve primarily craft coffee with a side of waffles was foiled when the latter surpassed the former. Blue Door quickly became the neighborhood coffee and waffle joint that it is today.
Following a bustling re-opening last Thursday, my husband and I brunched at Blue Door that weekend. As could be seen two days after opening, Blue Door skipped over their typical “graceful slope” into the busy season. Instead, a steady avalanche of faithful coffee junkies and waffle foodies revealed that absence makes the heart grow fonder.
Upon entry, a Storm Trooper greeted us with a sign indicating that we should “First Order” at the walk-up counter on the left. The orange walls were splashed with comic-book pages and superhero posters, complimenting the blue ceiling tiles. On the right side there was a dining area with a few wood plank tables, a pale wood counter scaling every wall, and baby blue stools.
A vintage arcade machine, built by a teenager from City Church, sat in the entryway, summoning gamers. This commissioned piece was constructed to hold thousands of games that can be played for free.
From the variety of gaming systems offered to patrons, to the plethora of Star Wars memorabilia, Blue Door’s aura can only be described as “nerdy.” Holland laughs, “all the people who work (at Blue Door) are nerdy and so are the students.”
With limited seating inside, we sat outdoors at one of the blue picnic tables, each emulating the café’s prominent door.
The Waffle Sandwich #1 was served with turkey, ham, Swiss cheese and raspberry preserves, all sandwiched between two mini-circular Belgian waffles that were showered with powdered sugar. The waffle had a crispy golden exterior with a dense cake-like center.
The play on sweet and savory flavors bounced back and forth from the sugar topped waffle to the salty meat and then from the melted cheese to the raspberry jam. Costing only $4.29, this hand-held brunch item will satisfy any college student’s cravings without breaking their budget.
Blue Door also offers a build-your-own waffle option, where customers can add garnishes like chocolate ganache, bacon, berries and whipped cream. Our creation entailed four miniature Belgian waffles, laced in creamy Nutella, sprinkled with pecans, adorned with fresh blueberries and crowned with whipped cream.
As we indulged in decadent waffles, we sipped on latte art made with Counter Culture’s craft coffee. Holland chose this roaster from Durham, N.C., because they provide a quality product.
Rotating the coffee every ten days, Holland seeks out different flavors that will enhance her artistry and invigorate her customer’s palates. The key to composing a well-designed cup of coffee involves an artful process. “Dial in. Taste it. Pair it. Adjust it.”
Holland’s passion for coffee transcends the average barista. “I truly feel that making coffee is like a dance and there is a perfect rhythm to it.” With plans to open her own coffee shop in the future, Holland is using this time to sharpen her expertise.
These skills were certainly apparent in the two cups of coffee that we relished. Holland first made us this season’s signature drink, the Vanilla Spiced Latte. This sip subtly boasted flavors of fall with hints of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg and orange.
Our second drink, the Molé Mocha, offered a nod to Mexican flavors by integrating heat from cayenne pepper. This spiciness was balanced by the deep bold flavors of dark chocolate. Each cup displayed an artistic design exemplifying Holland’s proclamation that, “creating good coffee and latte art is very satisfying”.
Blue Door boasts that while its blue door is open, coffee and waffles are served all day long. So whether you are looking for a new place to brunch or in desperate need of a mid-afternoon study break, Blue Door will leave you anything but blue.