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06/28/2002 - Tryst Coffee Café Trumps Titan

Pssst! Want a secret place to meet? Try the Tryst Coffee House and Juice Bar --- off the Alley at 122 South Monroe. Quietly opened by Christopher Lewis, this comfortable nest-of-a-place serves up broadband and wireless connectivity with the wheat grass juice. If you’ve forgotten your laptop, Spokane’s newest Internet Café will rent you access to one of their two computers for a mere $5 per hour. If you’ve only a few minutes work, the minimum charge is $1 plus ten cents per minute. One of the Café’s computers has a DVD player and the computers keep track of the time used.

Tryst has a Qwest DSL line, and a wireless port. The wireless is 802.11 compliant, a universal standard port that is identical to the system at WhiteRunkle. If you don’t have a wireless card, there are two tables with DSL connections to plug in the laptop. Use of the wireless port and the DSL connections is free --- but, of course, you are expected to buy a drink.

Tryst is well ahead of Starbucks’ downtown store. The titanic chain now has wireless connections in stores in other cities, but the Spokane downtown coffee bar doesn’t expect connectivity for another few weeks or months.

Lewis wanted his coffee house and juice bar to be much more classy and relaxing that the usual cyber café. The décor is somewhat rustic with exposed brick and rock walls, painted beamed ceilings, and painted floor. The handmade paper lampshades on the lights were custom made, and art by local artists hang around the perimeter. Tables and chairs are made of wood, and there is an overstuffed sofa in one corner facing a big screen television. “Some of my customers bring movies on DVD to watch here,” said Lewis.

One partition wall uses old windows that came out of the old Coeur d’Alene city hall. This touch makes the small, twenty-five seat café seem much more spacious. If you want to read, there are magazines stored in stylish zinc holders. In the space designed by Lewis, essentially everything is made of natural materials.

All of the usual espresso drinks are available, as well as French press and drip coffee made from a selection of 4-Seasons supplied coffee beans. Lewis is especially partial to the multitude of juice drinks he prepares to order. Some are fanciful creations, and most are made from organic fruits and vegetables. The customer can choose carrot/beet juice, wheat grass, and other raw vegetable juices, but, according to Lewis, the strawberry cocktail is his most popular blend. Tryst stocks many seasonal fruits, and the customer may choose among cantaloupe, watermelon, banana, papaya, apples, oranges and grapes. The tea drinker can have a pot of loose-leaf green tea. Several other beverages both freshly made and bottled are available as well.

I small number of food items is available to enjoy with the drinks. Fresh pastries arrive each morning from Joe’s on Lincoln. Bagels come from the Sweetwater Bakery. Even the wheat grass arrives fresh and at its prime every Tuesday and Friday.

Look for Tryst behind the Brooklyn Deli. Open seven days a week, the hours are 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Sunday hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Billie Moreland
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