From the desk of Wally Dawkins, Athletic Director:

This is not an advertisement and I am not putting in a plug for a local eatery.  This is not written as a favor to a friend, nor do I work for TripAdvisor or The Better Business Bureau.  I have only been to one Chamber of Commerce meeting in my entire life.

This is more of a comparison-contrast post.  This is the opinion of one who considers himself an expert in the field, and I’m not even from out of town. (I.e. all experts are from out of town) With all that being said, here we go.

I don’t really like Starbucks Coffee.

I guess it was…that aftertaste.  I just never could get used to that lingering yuk in my mouth after slurping a Tall Bold or even a Grande Pikes Place.  The coffee at Starbucks in my opinion, tasted like coffee with an additive.  Like infused with power steering fluid.  Starbucks however isn’t all bad. This time of year I do enjoy there Crème Brule and Egg Nog Lattes.  But that’s about it.  I suppose Starbucks is OK if you are driving and need a quick cup of coffee to help you stay awake, or if your power steering fluid light comes on and there is no Pep Boys Store close by.  It’ll do.  I really don’t like even going into Starbucks and inhaling that aromatic scent of…aftertaste.

The urban-mod feel of a Starbucks is in conflict with what I want from my java joint, most of all which is a good cup of coffee and a cozy place to curl up with my Tyler Paper and a few good friends.

Being a resident of the Azalea District, my philosophy of life is obviously that older is better.  Older houses have much more character than the new cookie cutter variety.  Historic brick streets are cooler than newly landscaped boulevards.  And timeless hipster coffee houses serve better coffee than the assembly line chains at the strip mall.

On Rusk Street, part of the Tyler Brick Streets Neighborhood, there is a coffee shop simply called Brady’s.

It is not trendy, nor chic. Brady’s doesn’t have Wi-Fi or iPhone charger outlets. You can also lock the toilet door at Brady’s which is a direct breach in security at most Starbucks stores. Brady’s is cool and unique and a great place for coffee, all rolled into one.  There is no other place like it in Tyler.

Maybe a little odd…but it is a good odd.

The first thing you will notice when you walk into Brady’s is the music.  It sort of makes you feel like you just stepped into a Roman Catholic Cathedral.  Kinda strange initially, but the longer you are there, the more it begins to fit.

The owner/proprietor is obviously a devout Catholic as the music, statues, writings, etc. indicate with possibly even a Jesuit connection.  The inside is simply furnished with tables and comfortable chairs.  The walls are covered with the paintings of local artists.  Brady’s is known for its excellent coffee, comfortable surroundings, and light-hearted yet sophisticated atmosphere.

Conversations abound as lawyers, politicians, businessmen and coaches discuss the outcomes of recent trials, elections, who is in the obituaries and remembering when.  Walking into Brady’s, it is readily apparent that the republicans (you guessed it) sit on the right side of the room, democrats on the left, and those who don’t give a rip sit in the middle.

The walls have waist high shelves with large covered glass jars filled with every kind of coffee bean imaginable from around the world.  These jars of beans breathe an aroma into the room that makes you feel like you are in Columbia or Italy because of their distinct blend of smells.  The food display case is loaded with homemade scones, muffins and cakes.  There are several types of hot coffee available for dispensing as well as owner made lattes and macchiatos that simply cause one to say…”yum”.

It’s a solid, feel good place that makes you feel all warm…and “cozy” inside.

Brady’s Coffee Shop is not some flash in the pan, here today-gone tomorrow automatic-drip shop, that is trying to re-invent itself at the turn of every cup-of-Joe corner.

Brady’s Coffee has character, knows what it wants to do, and is steady and reliable, and the owner knows what he wants the place to be.

In many ways, The Brook Hill School is a lot like Brady’s Coffee Shop.  Just like Brady’s, Brook Hill knows who it is, and Brook Hill knows who it belongs to.  Those who have time invested in Brook Hill know who the “owner” is. Brook Hill has  become well established after only 18 years in existence, and continues to grow due to loyal repeat customers.  These loyalists spread the good news about Brook Hill, which has resulted in new families enrolling almost daily.

When you have a place like Brady’s or Brook Hill, both of which provide a consistently great product, both offering  facilities that meet the needs of its constituents, and both whose atmospheres enable those who are “customers” to feel good about their experience, you soon become a landmark.  Brady’s coffee shop is a little known gem in Tyler that has become a landmark for many of us.

The Brook Hill School is rapidly establishing itself as a landmark also, and not only in East Texas, but throughout the world, as a top quality, private Christian school, that has stayed true to its roots, and knows its purpose.

Recently, Brook Hill was selected as one of the top 30 Christian Boarding Schools in the U.S.

There is just no other place like Brook Hill, and like Brady’s Coffee Shop, is simply… the best.

Back to Starbucks and while pulling into the drive through, I overheard the person in the car in front of us place her order  and it went something like this; “Give me a Venti-salted, double pump of soy extra hot Americano, with a triple shot of expresso, thick foam, gingerbread sprinkles, vanilla extract and whip, twin sleeves…no cup”!

Just another reason to go to Brady’s and be “ALL ORANGE…All the Time”