The Best Coffee In Utica-Our Top 5


I like coffee—maybe a little too much. But for me, coffee is more than just a stimulating morning routine. It’s also social connector, a catalyst for good conversation with good friends. To me, coffee is as much about the experience as it is the flavor. With that in mind, here are my picks for best coffee in the Utica area.

1. The Tramontane Café. If you’ve been out and about in Utica long enough to remember Virgo Bat and Leo Phrog’s, then you already have a pretty good idea of what the Tram is all about; the Lincoln Avenue coffeehouse is the latest venue from the same folks who brought you Virgo Bat. As its name suggests, from the décor to the clientele the Tram is the epitome of funky eclecticism, without a bit of pretension. Order at the door, then kick back in one of the big comfy couches, or pull up a chair at a table and fire up your laptop. They’ll bring your beverage to you. The Tramontane Café is a haven of civic pride, entrepreneurial spirit, and local arts. Stop in for frequent live music and other events. Can communities coalesce over coffee? Yup. It’s happening at the Tram.

2. Utica Coffee Roasting Company. First the bad news: the place is only open Saturdays from 10 am to 2 pm. That’s really a shame, because you won’t find a better cup of coffee anywhere in Utica. But it’s worth the wait. Every week, owner and proprietor Frank Elias lovingly roasts the freshest, most exotic beans from the globe’s finest coffee producing regions and cups them on lower Genesee Street right here in Utica. So put the Utica Coffee Roasting Company on your weekend “to do” list. Be sure to pick up a pound to enjoy at home until next Saturday.

3. Café Domenico. Three words: white chocolate mocha. Even if I weren’t so addicted to my favorite Café Domenico drink, I’d still love the inviting, chilled-out atmosphere. Hang with friends upstairs in the back, or on the weird little balcony hovering over the main room. Relax street side in the warmer weather. The music is always great. As an added bonus, Café Domenico’s location right across from the Uptown Theater on Genesee Street makes it an ideal stop before or after a movie.

4. The College Street Café. Every visit feels oddly like a step through the looking glass. Maybe it’s the close quarters at this Clinton shop (it’s really tight in there), or maybe it’s the whimsical décor inside and out. No matter, the coffee never disappoints. Nor does the staff. They’re always friendly and accommodating, making the College Street Cafe, this lesser-known spot, one of my choices for best coffee in the Utica area.

5. Spressos. Full disclosure: I don’t venture out to Rome very often, and I’ve only been to Spressos once. I was asked to write and produce a commercial for this Griffiss Park café, so I decided to check it out. That one visit was enough to merit inclusion on my list of best coffee in the Utica area. Spressos is bright and clean, and serves rich, robust coffees, plus fantastic bakery, breakfast, and lunch selections, with plenty of room to unwind if you’re not in a hurry. What more could you want?

That’s our list, what would you include?

Contributed by WIBX Production Director, Geoff Storm

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