^ New owner Don Hooper with his daughter Emma.
Ragamuffins Coffee House is located in a quaint, original edifice on Main Street in Alexandria. To a passerby it may seem small, but I found the space surprisingly large on the inside- enough room for a cozy seating arrangement around a fireplace, several tables, and an outdoor patio with seating for nearly twenty people in the back. With Wi-Fi, it makes the perfect quiet place to do work.
Formerly owned by Bud and Betsy Young, Ragamuffins has been open since 2012, but has now changed hands to Don Hooper, along with his wife Lesa and daughter Emma, who works in the shop. The Youngs had a strong vision for Ragamuffins, but with their other three businesses already in operation, the coffee shop eventually proved to be too big of an addition to their busy schedules. Don, formerly a youth minister at Croton Church, had been searching for a business to manage for the past several years, and Ragamuffins felt like the right step to take.
“They had this idea of a place they wanted to add to the Alexandria community, and I said, ‘You’re already doing it!’ We just want to continue what Bud and Betsy started.”
^ The walls are lined with photos of Alexandria throughout the years, created from the original tin prints from the Alexandria Museum down the street.
There’s a great drink menu, with real fruit smoothies (I had a beautiful purple one made with blueberries, strawberries, banana, and kale, but it was gone before I remembered to take a picture), teas sourced from locally-based Petali Teas, and coffee from Caruso’s Coffee near Cleveland. Emma told me the most popular coffee drinks are the Almond Joy and the Turtle Mocha. They also have breakfast and lunch- Don suggested the Ragamuffin Club as the most popular sandwich, while the cinnamon bread is a customer favorite for breakfast or as a treat. They have plans to add seasonal items to the menu, such as summer salads, and possibly add dinner hours in the future, pending expansion of the currently small prep kitchen.
^ The Petali Tea selection
^ I had a breakfast sandwich on a croissant with egg, cheddar, and a generous portion of ham sourced from Troyer’s, along with the other meats and cheeses they serve. I also had the turtle mocha, which was chocolatey and sweet- I can see why it’s a customer favorite!
There’s a loyalty program, too: after nine electronic purchases, you can receive a free large drink on your tenth visit.
“We have a group of sixth graders who walk over almost every day after school to get a cookie for fifty cents. These boys keep careful track and you know when it’s been ten visits because they all come in and say, ‘We’re ready for our free drink!’ They usually see what they can get that has the most flavors and syrups in it! That deal has been the most popular with them for sure,” Don said.
Emma added, “We love our everyday customers. One of our favorites is Betty, who is 77 years old and walks over every day to have coffee- in her own special mug with a ‘B’ on it- while she waits for her mail to be delivered at the post office across the street.”
Don also mentioned that they’ve had several customers who have lived in the building at one time or another throughout the years.
“That’s one of the great things about having a place like this. The house comes with a living history, and now we get to add to it.”
^ A community prayer wall, 'Write one or take one.
^ Rotating chalk drawings that are 'great for Instagram,' Emma says.
WHERE AND WHEN
Ragamuffins Coffee House
9 West Main Street