Article and pictures by Quinn Polaski, Contributing Writer
If you’ve never noticed, our small town of Lebanon has its own small cafe. The Foundry is a cafe and market situated off the red brick roads of St. Louis Street. I interviewed the owner of the Foundry, Stephanie, to find out more about Lebanon’s best cup of coffee. Stephanie bought the lot from a previous cafe owner in the summer of 2016. It was been a staple business on the broadway of Lebanon since.
The Foundry has its own flair. When first walking in the store, you see the various bean grinders and latte machines behind the counter. Along the walls are trinkets such as comedic kitchen ware, chapstick holders, and art prints. My first impression of this place was that it would be the best study area for any coffee-loving McKendree student. Everything sold in the Foundry is locally made by our Lebanon neighbours, besides the coffee.
Many veteran students of McKendree may remember when the Foundry was bigger than it is now, as it used to have a show room where costumers could enjoy some live music. The downsizing happened because Stephanie realized she didn’t need all the space. Now the sister store of the Foundry is No Jack, it’s a Jill Thing.
The only brew you can buy at the Foundry is called Mississippi Mud. Stephanie continues to support the local metro east area by buying all her coffee locally. Mississippi Mud comes from the Soulard area of St. Louis. When Stephanie opened her shop, she tasted many different brands of coffee because she knew that she needed a signature brew to keep people interested. She describes the Mud as “smooth with no bitter taste.” You can get anything you want here: latte, espresso, iced, cappuccino, etc. Stephanie has every flavor pump on the wall too. Surprisingly, the owner herself wakes up and takes her coffee right from the kettle. Yes, the barista behind all these different types likes her coffee black.
Lebanon’s top barista was not always into the coffee business. ” I never got into drinking coffee till my late twenties, and I see many customers are still in their teen years.” Before opening her store, Stephanie was an accountant. She has two degrees, one in business and one in accounting, which has led her to be a successful sole proprietor; her shop is small enough to run by herself and she doesn’t have to pay anyone to keep her books. She did have a McKendree student and Lebanon resident for an employee for a while, but now it’s just her.
Besides coffee and trinkets, you can get a bite to eat at the Foundry. Every day from 11-2 Stephanie makes a lunch dish. She sells food until it runs out – so you better get in early. She claims her most famous dish is her chicken salad, but she also makes sandwiches, wraps, and other delicious food. If you are not hungry for a full meal, Stephanie bakes sweets daily for a quick treat along with your coffee such as cookies, lemon bars, and donuts.
Next time you have to do homework or want to get away from the crazy campus life, make a trip to the Foundry and check it out!