The Metropolitan Coffee House and Fine Art Gallery in North Conway Village, New Hampshire
Pros: Location. Friendly atmosphere. Extensive beverage menu has something for everyone. Best coffee east of anywhere. Their Limoncello Custard Cake alone is worth the experience. New management now features luncheon fare. Situated within the best piece of real estate in the village.
If you’re fortunate in this life, you have experienced a comfortable place where the real world abates and allows you some space. For reasons to which no mere mortal can attest, the Metropolitan Coffee House provides me with just such a spot of sublime intervention.
Situated adjacent to Schouler Park in the heart of North Conway Village, this tall brick Victorian melds the elegant bones of a former bank with the soul of a Neapolitan bistro – from espresso to gelato to the heavenly croissant, the Met enables an international pause to the diverse attractions found amongst the bustle in this walkable, year-round New England experience.
Coffee Lovers And Others
Of the numerous dark and medium-roast coffees dispensed, the Met‘s Community Blend is the holy grail of this life-long java-quaffer. With its mellow attitude and chocolatey demeanor, I can sip all day and never get enough. If you like a blue-collar cup, Regular Joe is the meat-and-potatoes of the coffee world. The house Decaf borders on the dark side, so swig accordingly. Nearly a dozen Artistic Lattes are just a barista away.
If whole-bean is your scene and you brew at home, all varieties of coffee served-up at the Met are available for purchase in-house. Grind it yourself, or let the Met do it. Ask about the Met Card – present it with each purchase to access special offers. Their buy 10, get 1 free deal is sweet when you check-out and hear the words: “this one’s on us!”.
Several varieties of tea (both hot and iced) appear on the menu, along with a number of Fruity Smoothies – plus their chocolate and vanilla cohorts. This being New England, Apple Cider is a menu must – straight-up or with ginger, cinnamon, caramel or maple.
The pastry showcase represents Christmas, year-round. I’ve witnessed admiring patrons perplexed by the prolific prospects presented – their Limoncello Custard Layer Cake is so good, I was compelled to duplicate this tangy treasure in my very own kitchen.
If it were a French delicacy, I could Youtube Julia Child for its secrets within, but Italian was just not her gig. Thanks to my efforts and the Met‘s motivation, my favorite lemony layers are nearly as memorable as theirs.
There is no shortage of eateries in the village – but none exist with superior mood, location or attention to detail. The Met‘s new management brings to the table a trio of sandwich specials. Your selection of Ham, Roast Beef or Roast Turkey can reside upon a bagel, roll or multi-grain croissant. Threes are wild with accompanying cheeses – sharp Cheddar, American or imported Swiss can be yours. Toppings include lettuce, tomato, onion and pickle. This and a crisp pile of chips for just $6.95 (US).
Everyone’s frozen Italian delight occupies its own section of the Met. The current menu lists nine flavors – including those both traditional and exotic – should Banana Caramel Swirl fit the definition. Of the four Sorbet flavors that appear, Strawberry Balsamic sounds most avant-garde – if not bordering on madcap.
The Fine Art Part
The Met‘s high ceilings provide ample wall space for the display of available work by local artists. An assortment of framed oils, watercolors and photographs reflecting the area’s natural beauty vie for the attention of appreciative patrons and a small slice of their vacation budget.
Since assuming proprietorship, Larry Flaherty has reclaimed the interior’s wood-paneled, centurial grandeur with new paint and updated lighting. Intimate and inviting, the upstairs lounge now assumes game room status with the likes of chess, checkers and Deluxe Scrabble. Watch incoming and departing trains on the Conway Scenic Railroad from the room’s comfy window seat.
If you enjoy lazy summer days with your cuppa’ Joe, the outdoor seating with a view of the park is a Met staple that remains unequaled.
Location Times Three
The Met is a short walk from anywhere in the village. Adjacent to the common (Schouler Park) via Norcross Circle, it neighbors the train station, plus numerous shops and attractions.
Five stars for the experience that is the Met. If you knew a place where your planets align when you walk through the door, could you rate it anything less?
The Metropolitan Coffee House and Fine Art Gallery is located at the intersection of White Mountain Highway (Route 302-16) and Kearsarge Road in North Conway, New Hampshire. For more details and hours of operation, click on the above link.
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