Fall 2003

The Leaf and Bean Company
by John Fries

In the past few years, cigars and coffee have become wildly popular-nearly as popular as baseball, which is still America's favorite pastime. People who regularly partake in one or both of these pleasures are often connoisseur-like in their devotion, and as well as in their cultivated knowledge about where to find the best sips and smokes.

Fortunately, we don'Õt have to travel to Seattle or Cuba to experience great coffee or fine cigars. Both are right here in the neighborhood at the Leaf and Bean Company on Route 19 in Peters Township.

Established in 1997 during the height of the cigar boom, the Leaf and Bean Company is the "best kept secret in Peters Township," according to Greg Threlkeld, one of the Company's original owners, and its sole owner since 2001.

It's not what many might consider a typical coffeehouse or cigar store; in fact, it's far from it. The Company provides a luxurious, richly appointed clubby ambience for its patrons, complete with leather chairs and couches, and paintings by area artists that hang on the oak-paneled walls.

At the same time, said Threlkeld, "it's a place where "everybody knows your nameÉa friendly, welcoming environment," in which friends congregate, entrepreneurs gather for impromptu meetings, retirees mingle, and people of all ages from around the area come to hang out, play checkers or cards, and unwind. "Here," according to Threlkeld, "strangers become friends, and friends become lifelong buddies."

The Leaf and Bean Company is a java drinker's paradise, offering nearly 20 types of coffee, ranging from dark and light roasts to espresso and cappuccino, to the traditional regular and Colombian coffees. More adventurous types may want to step outside the box and try the flavor of the day. And, for those who prefer coffee drinks, "the Company's staff can prepare just about anything a customer might request," said Threlkeld.

For the cigar crowd, there are about 150 different styles of cigars in stock, as well as a humidor room that features 40 wall lockers to accommodate patrons who opt for the convenience of storing their cigars, along with personal bottles of their favorite wine and spirits, on site.

"It's like a private club without memberships," said Threlkeld, "and everyone is invited and welcome here."

He noted that the Company even has a room that is becoming popular as a meeting space. "It accommodates about eight to ten people," he said, " and local businesses, whose owners or employees are our patrons, have started calling us to reserve it for meetings. That's great, because it gets them out of their offices and into a more comfortable environment."

Threlkeld looks forward to going to work each day-not only because he enjoys coffee and cigars, but also because of the people with whom he interacts. "I get to spend time with my customers, who are now my friends. And as new people discover the Leaf and Bean Company, we all get to make new friends on a daily basis-and get to know each other over great coffee and cigars. How perfect is that?"

Leaf and Bean Company 3525 Washington Road (next to BrueggerÕs Bagels in the Crossgates Shops) Hours: Monday Š Friday, 7 a.m. to 8 p.m., Saturday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., Sunday, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. 724-942-6670

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Copyright © 2005 by John Fries, Pittsburgh, PA.
Please direct all correspondence to john@johnfries.com