Fox in the Snow Cafe (Italian Village) | Columbus, OH

December 24, 2014

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Fox in the Snow Cafe | Facebook | T: @fitscafe | IG: foxinthesnowcafe
1031 N. 4th St. (map it!)
Columbus, OH 43201
Open Tues-Fri, 7a-5p; Sat & Sun, 8a-6p
Accepts cash & credit/debit
Vegetarian/vegan/gluten free? Y/N/N
Kid-friendly? Y

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I think the record player on the counter at Fox in the Snow Cafe says it all: lo-fi, comfortable, familiar in a new way. Look, there are a lot of coffee shops in Columbus. There are a lot of bakeries, too. Really good ones. But from the get-go something has just made sense about Fox in the Snow. With its industrial location and focus on higher end coffee, it’d be easy to pass off as the newest hipster joint, but the fact is it’s warm and welcoming, with inviting coffee and baked goods. It’s obvious the community feels this way, too: the cafe has been busy since day one.

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Fox in the Snow is located in a cement block building on N. 4th Street in Italian Village. It’s one of those buildings you drive by all the time without noticing. Until owners Jeff Excell and Lauren Culley rehabbed it with a new floor, windows, lighting, everything. Suddenly it’s become a little community hub. Although there’s no official signage except their signature fox painted on the wall, you’ll still notice the busy parking lot. Something’s going on there.

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The space feels wide open, too, with baked goods on display and a long bar featuring the pour-over station and espresso machine.

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The color palette is fairly neutral: natural wood tables, white subway tile, gray flooring, but it’s accented by little bits of color from flowers and greens.

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One big reason the cafe feels so welcoming: there’s a communal focus. Jeff, Lauren, and their crew have always been friendly and welcoming. There’s always good music playing (although I’m looking forward to the day I walk in and hear the Belle & Sebastian song for which the cafe is named). There’s lots of conversation and book-reading going on. There’s no wifi (you read that right: leave the computer at home). And the bakery is open to viewing behind big glass windows. It’s all right in front of you.

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Of course, it helps that the food and drinks are killer. Seriously. We’ve been multiple times (any excuse, really) and haven’t had a bad thing there. From what I’ve heard, that’s the general consensus. Lauren has already had to double production and hire more bakers to keep up with demand.

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It’s easy to see why: sticky cinnamon rolls…

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…cream-filled donuts (one of my favorites)…

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…and fruit-filled hand pies.

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All complemented by great, great coffee. They use beans from Tandem Coffee Roasters in Maine. I judge a place based on their cortado (it’s excellent).

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Mrs. Bfast w/Nick always samples the cappuccino (also excellent).

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And when you stack those with a cinnamon roll or a muffin or scone or cookie, you’re all set.

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One of the real stand-outs of the food menu is the egg sandwich. Sure, you say, it’s just an egg sandwich. But like the cafe itself, it just all adds up: thick slices of bread, soft soufled eggs, bacon, fresh greens, cheese, and a tangy dijon mustard/mayo spread. It’s a superior sandwich.

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So there you have it. Coffee…

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…and cookies. Fox in the Snow has it all.

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Jeff, Lauren, and their crew are much-deserving of the success. They’ve hit all the right notes, from food and drink, to welcome and comfort. It’s no wonder, then, that Italian Village (and surrounding neighborhoods) have readily adopted them.

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And if you haven’t heard their namesake song yet, give it a listen. Like the cafe itself, it’s lovely.

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FOOD + TRAVEL WRITER

I go by Dr. Breakfast, but in addition to restaurants and recipes, I write about family travel, breweries and distilleries, the arts, outdoor fun, and so much more.

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