Coffee lovers rejoice, as Cleveland is home to a lesser-known jewel serving the hot, caffeinated beverage. Is it Starbucks? Dunkin Donuts? No, it’s the locally-owned Cleveland Daily Grind, run by …
Coffee lovers rejoice, as Cleveland is home to a lesser-known jewel serving the hot, caffeinated beverage. Is it Starbucks? Dunkin Donuts? No, it’s the locally-owned Cleveland Daily Grind, run by local barista and coffee fan Katina Melton.
A Cleveland native, Melton serves as owner and manager of the Cleveland Daily Grind, positioned in the heart of the Cleveland Bradley County Public Library.
The coffee shop is considered a separate entity from the library, as the space is leased, but Melton described it is an integral part of the library as a whole.
The Cleveland Daily Grind was previously known as Serving with Grace, and was owned by Amanda Clark until Melton purchased it from her in January 2018. Prior to serving as barista, Melton worked in the circulation department of the library as a shift supervisor.
The only workers at the coffee shop are Melton and her daughter-in-law, Angel Stukanova, a Lee student who works there part-time.
One of five children born to a minister, Melton and her family moved around constantly after planting a church in a different town each time. Despite moving around so often, her father and grandfather were both born in Chattanooga, and have relatives all over Cleveland. After moving back, Melton and all of her siblings attended Lee University. In addition to this, Melton and all but one sibling worked at the Cleveland Daily Banner at one point as well.
Despite having never imagined owning her own business, Melton said the idea was planted in her mind by a family member. Her first business venture was running a small coffee shop at a local golf course, which she operated for a time before it closed down.
While taking some courses at Cleveland State Community College, she did a research project on the steps required for establishing your own business, which she earned an A on.
“Working in a restaurant is in my heart. I had talked with Amanda in February 2017 when she ran Serving with Grace, and told her how running my own place was my dream — but I didn’t think I could run a business because of my age — and she told me ‘don’t give up on that dream, as you never know what will happen.’ Then in October 2017, she decided to sell the coffee shop and asked me if I wanted it,” Melton exclaimed.
She said she was floored by the question, and ecstatically said yes.
Part of her success stems from the library’s support, she explained. She especially praised library director Andrew Hunt for being the Cleveland Daily Grind’s biggest supporter.
She laughed when she explained how the library’s support also comes from the grateful library employees who are happy to have a coffee shop right at their fingertips.
“It’s a symbiotic relationship that works very well,” she added.
Upon first taking over and rebranding the location as the Cleveland Daily Grind, Melton wanted to put her own, unique stamp on the shop. One major standard she abides by is that she doesn’t serve anything she wouldn’t enjoy herself, and thus, makes a variety of beverages by hand. She said she learned how to be a successful barista through watching endless YouTube videos on proper coffee techniques.
“The Internet is your friend, and it’s a lot of trial and error. I’ve perfected drinks that I didn’t make well the first few times. You can have all the proper ingredients, but if you can’t mix them well, the drink is going to flop,” she said.
Drinks made include flavored coffees, cappuccinos, frappuccinos, lattes and iced and hot coffee. She even offers alternative, non-dairy forms of milk for those with lactose intolerance, such as soy, almond, coconut or cashew milk.
In addition to the coffee and beverages, Melton also serves sandwiches on Italian herb bread, salads and seasonal items like her five-bean chili. Her best seller is her chicken salad croissant, which she admits the secret ingredient to is love.
While she’s developed a loyal following of patrons since opening, Melton said spreading awareness of the Cleveland Daily Grind’s offerings is something she struggles with, and hopes to attract more customers in the future.
“I hope Cleveland comes to me because I have a delicious product, good coffee that could compete with any other coffee shop and if something is not right about your experience, I’ll make it right,” Melton said.
The Cleveland Daily Grind is open 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, and 9 a.m. - 4 p.m. Wednesday and Saturday.
For more information, check out its Facebook page or call 423-544-0240.
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