New Madison, Ind., coffee shop
offers food and more
G.H. Coffee Co. is the brainchild of owner Greg Hayes
(December 2016) – Anyone wandering near the intersection of Main Street and Broadway in Madison, Ind., might think they have wandered into Paris, France. A row of tables filled with people having lively discussions sits outside the new G.H. Coffee Co.’s streetside café at 329 W. Main St. It is situated across the street from the Broadway Fountain in the heart of town.
It is a relaxed setting for anyone except the owner, Greg Hayes. Whenever he takes a few minutes to rest in an empty seat, he is swamped by customers who come to tell him how much they like the coffee house, the food or the coffee.
Photo by John Sheckler
The staff at the newly opened G.H. Coffee Co. pose inside the store on W. Main St., in Madison, Ind. They are (from left) owner Greg Hayes, baker Katie Lockridge, manager Jordan Gardner, Debbie Brown, Sondra Rush, Taylor Leek and Grace Clifton.
“It is nonstop,” he says with a smile. “But I brought it all on myself. The lunch crowd is already pretty big, but a lot of people do not know we also serve breakfast. The ‘after lunch’ crowd is pretty steady until about an hour before we close.”
Before opening G.H. Coffee Co. in Madison, Hayes operated a coffee shop on the courthouse square in Versailles, Ind., but after two years, he recently closed that business.
“It wasn’t like Madison,” he added. It was pretty much the only retail business on the square.”
Hayes speaks highly of Madison and local organizations that support the business community here.
“Madison is geared to supporting small business,” Hayes said. “We like their involvement of the Chamber, Madison Main Street and the city government.”
Hayes acquired the building on Jan. 1 and originally planned to open G.H. Coffee Co. last spring. But it took a lot of work to get the interior of the building to match his vision for the business.
“I only had so many hours a day,” he recalls. “I did all the work myself, and it took much longer than I expected. There were layers of paint to remove.”
Now a steady flow of customers stop to tell him they like the results of his work.
“They tell me they like the look and feel of the shop but also the food and the prices,” Hayes said with pride.
Hayes also owns a wireless Internet company with 20 towers in Osgood, Ind. His true passion is coffee, so he started with G.H. Coffee Co. in Versailles two years ago.
“I always wanted to have a coffee shop,” he said. “I have spent a lot of money at Starbucks and thought, ‘I could do that.’ ”
Hayes started roasting coffee at home with a popcorn popper but got tired of stinking up the house. When the building in Versailles was available, he bought a roaster and opened a coffee shop.
Now that his shop is in Madison, the higher traffic allows him to rotate his varieties more often. He had plans to design a house blend.
Photo by John Sheckler
Customers line up for coffee and sandwiches at G.H. Coffee Co., which recently opened in Madison, Ind.
“I haven’t been able to develop a house blend yet, but I am working on it.” He said.
G.H. Coffee Co. plans to celebrate its grand opening with a ribbon cutting at 4 p.m. Monday, Dec. 5. The Madison Area Chamber of Commerce will help with the ribbon cutting.
Hayes won’t say what type coffee will be in is house blend, but he admits he likes a dark roast.
For now, his current dreams are about the menu and entertainment.
“I want this to be a place for local musicians, like the 1960s-era coffee houses.” He said. “I want it to be a comfortable place where people can come to relax and enjoy their food and hear good music.”
A recent Friday night was the place for the first G.H. Coffee Co. jam. Local dulcimer player John Sheckler was joined by his performance partner Dan Bixler of Vevay. Also joining the group was Stan Attenberger from Madison and Larry Wayt, known for leading the jam scene in Metamora and many other places in east central Indiana. All are veterans of the Jam Tent at the annual RiverRoots Music and Folk Arts Festival.
“I’m lucky to be in walking distance of G.H. Coffee,” said Attenberger. “The other day I walked there with my little backpack guitar to jam with John and Dan. When I got there, I was surprised to see that my friend Larry Wayt had come to Madison to jam with us. I got a good cup of coffee and got comfortable on the broad window sill, and we jammed for quite a while. Customers encouraged us with smiles and nods as they passed through.”
Hayes said he wants the shop to feature from many styles, including folk, singer-songwriter and jazz, but not rap.
“I would like to have music that fits the atmosphere every Friday and Saturday nights,” he said.
The menu will be as diverse as the music. It currently features a wide variety of coffee, and espresso drinks, but also a variety of Frappe, Smoothies and Chai tea drinks.
“It’s a wonderful addition to downtown Madison. I believe their hours will give people a tasty choice of drinks and sandwiches during breakfast, lunch and dinner,” said local resident Gina Freeman.
Food includes signature salads, artisan pizza, sandwiches and wraps, Pizza Panini. All food items are below $8. The current best seller is a Morgan’s Munster Panini. Named for the Morgan’s Raiders who came through Madison during the Civil War, it has Munster Cheese and chicken with a garlic aioli sauce.
More menu items with historic Madison names will follow soon.
“There will be more retail items here,” Hayes said. “Whenever someone gets an idea, we roll with it. It can be new sandwiches, new pizza ideas or something for retail.”
“We are planning to offer more pies and homemade candies,” Hayes said. “All of it is made here and some of the sweet treats will center on our coffee.”
There will also be non-food items focused on coffee, such as body scrubs.
“Coffee is known for cellulite removal,” said Hayes.
He is currently working on a coffee and crème stout. Like stout beer, it will have a dark thick head but not heavy caramelized. It will not have a bite; instead it will be smooth tasting without being bitter.
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