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Unique building, unique coffee
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Christine Shaughnessy wasn’t planning to get into the coffee business. But when she moved back to Savannah after a stint in Atlanta, she and her husband noticed that the modern style building on the corner of Skidaway and Victory Drive was vacant.

“That place would make a perfect coffee shop,” her husband, being the coffee fanatic of the family, suggested.

Looking into it, they discoverd that 80,000 cars pass through the intersection in a 24-hour period. They also discovered Starbucks looked at the location but turned it down.

“People who live in Gordonston and Thunderbolt don’t really have a neighborhood coffee shop. We really saw it as an ideal place,” Shaughnessy explains.

Indeed, the shopping center and surrounding area is experiencing revitalization. The Crossroads Shopping Center has been in the Morrison family since it was built in the late 1950’s. The unique design of the building that now houses Coastal Coffee was created by Morrison himself.

The “Our House” restaurant, one of Savannah’s first fast food restaurants.

In the early ‘70s The Savannah Bank took over the building, and Morrison did the redesign for the bank. This redesign included the Frank Lloyd Wright style copper roof that gives the building its landmark appeal today.

“Our theme for the shop is ‘Old World Nautical.’ It really reflects our goal of bringing Savannahians the best coffee from all over the world,” Shaughnessy explains.

The menu boasts over fifty varieties of coffees from regions of the Caribbean and the Americas, including Hawaii, Jamaica and Brazil, coffees from Africa incuding Tanzania, and Zambia, and coffees from Asia and Indonesia.

“We have eight custom blends exclusive to us,” Shaughnessy says.

Also available for order are organic, shade grown and fair trade coffees.

“We have a private roaster in North Carolina. When I place an order the beans are roasted that day and shipped the next. When I recive the coffee it is not more than three days after roasting,” she says. “Most everyone else roasts their coffee in bulk. Being an independent coffee house give us this flexibility,” Christine explains.

The day we paid a visit, the Coffee of the Day was Indian Monsoon Malibar. If the name doesn’t do enough to entice you, listen to Shaughnessy’s description:

“The beans are dried while exposed to the warm humid monsoon winds. This transforms the coffee bean, giving it a spicy woody flavor with very low acidity. It is smooth and rich.”

In addition to coffee, Coastal Coffee offers a daily lunch special. They also offer fruit smoothies made with real fruit, Chia Tea, coffee free delights for kids, and soy milk and low carb alternatives. They also have many sweet treats such as fresh muffins and desserts like lemon mist cake and an amazing chocolate lava cake.

Coastal Coffee is also just a wonderful place to hang out. The furnishings are warm toned, soft and inviting and let the wonderful design and history of the building shine through.

“We kept the bank vault because it looks so cool. We had a local artist paint the mural you see. It’s a map of Savannah from the 1800s.”

Soon the walls will be adorned with artwork. “We have an arrangement with Signature Gallery in City Market. They’ll loan us artwork from local artists to display here,” Shaughnessy says.

But if you’re in too much of a hurry to stop and stay a while, the drive-through is a convenient alternative. w


Coastal Coffee is at Victory and Skidaway, and is open from 5:30 a.m.-7 p.m. Mon.-Sat. and 8:30 a.m.-7 p.m. on Sunday. Call them at 443-6000.