Downtown Coraopolis is compact and walkable, with plenty of potential charm. The problem is, like many other small river towns, it hasn’t seen much commercial development for decades. In terms of drawing large numbers of patrons to local establishments, there was “no there there.”
But things are starting to change in the Ohio River borough, and the coffee-hounds at Anchor and Anvil are getting in on the action. In February, Anchor and Anvil opened a large coffee shop on Fifth Avenue, complete with modern decor, comfy couches and two large garage doors that open onto the heart of borough’s business district.
“I just see it as an opportunity,” says co-owner Andy Theobald. “There is not something like this anywhere nearby.”
Theobald and his wife, Tracy, opened the first Anchor and Anvil Coffee Bar three years ago in Ben Avon across the river. The new Coraopolis location also gets its beans and equipment from Michigan-based Madcap Roasters, which Theobald says is known for responsible- and sustainable-sourcing practices.
Theobald says he wants his coffee bars to be known for two things: high-quality coffee and a comfortable, pub-like atmosphere. He encourages patrons to try their espresso straight up, or indulge in the “Parking Chair latte,” which Theobald says tastes like “melted espresso ice cream.” He also says Anchor and Anvil can make 15 different made-to-order iced or hot teas. Pastries are available, and a limited breakfast and lunch menu is in the works.
The space is wide open — clean and bright, with plush leather couches and plenty of electrical outlets. Theobald hopes to give people in western Allegheny County a place to work or relax that the giant retailers in Robinson and strip malls in Moon don’t offer.
And Theobald hopes not just to attract coffee-lovers to Anchor and Anvil, but also to contribute to a positive transformation of Coraopolis. “We want to be part of a larger vision for a walkable Coraopolis,” says Theobald. “We want it to be a community gathering place."