In the nearly four years since Mark Raymond opened the Cleveland Hostel
at 2090 W. 25th
St., tens of thousands of guests have lodged in the affordable Ohio City inn. They hail from more than 60 countries including exotic locales such as Nepal, Bangladesh, Mauritania and Fiji, and range in age from six months to older than 90.
One of the main reasons travelers choose to stay in a hostel rather than a hotel is to meet new people. And while the Cleveland Hostel is located in a city hub that is bustling with social opportunities, it was missing one thing: good coffee. To remedy that, Raymond and partner Trey Kirchoff decided to embark on new venture, Passengers Café in the hostel lobby.
“The social aspect is one of the main things that make a hostel a hostel,” says Raymond. “We have the roof deck, the kitchen and common area on the second floor [and] now the cafe in the lobby.”
When completed later this spring, Passengers Café will offer drip coffee from different coffee roasters around the country, espresso drinks, locally-made bagels and a small toast menu. “We will have great coffee offerings from all over the country,” says Kirchoff, who has experience in the industry from his work with Gimme! Coffee bars
in his native New York.
Kirchoff cites Philadelphia, Arkansas and Minnesota as some places that roast great coffee but don’t have the reputation of places such as Seattle or even Cleveland, which, he notes, is home to the likes of Six Shooter
and Duck Rabbit
. “They’re all really doing cool things with their beans. We want to start with beans from all over, beans that are probably not as well known.”
The cafe will have 15 to 20 seats in the 700-square-foot lobby as well as a few tables outdoors. “Really, right now, there’s no one else south of Lorain that has a presence on the sidewalk,” says Raymond.
Raymond and Kirchoff were introduced last year through the Ohio City Merchants Association
. Kirchoff moved to Cleveland with his wife, Dana, a Cleveland native, in 2015 and was looking to start a coffee and sandwich shop. Raymond wanted to broaden his offerings at the hostel. By December, the two were working on plans for Passengers Café.
The result is a “medium sized, casual space,” says Raymond. “If they want to go on the roof deck and drink their coffee, they’re welcome to.”
Raymond also encourages Clevelanders to stop by the café and meet some new people. “I’m excited to bring locals in,” he says. “Travelers will get a more unique experience.”