By: Samantha Hopper
After a long closure, Perennial Café has dusted off its chairs and flipped the sign in the window from “closed” to “open.”
Perennial, located at the intersection of Franklin Street and Kenan Street in downtown Chapel Hill, originally opened in 2016. The café serves fresh pastries, coffee, tea and other beverages.
But COVID-19 proved too tough an obstacle for Perennial. Back in the summer of 2020, the local business closed its doors and the absence of the cozy coffee shop was instantly noticed by students and the Chapel Hill community.
“Finding the right part of the curve to open back up was as much an exercise in hope as it was in detailed planning,” wrote Scott Conary, owner of Perennial and president of Carrboro Coffee Roasters, in an email. “Toward the beginning of 2021 it seemed there was enough of a light at the end of the tunnel that we could start planning to get the wheels turning again and stage the opening to coincide with the reality we and all small businesses were facing day by day.”
And after an Instagram hiatus, the coffee shop posted on April 15 announcing they were “re-blooming this spring.” Now, the doors have swung open and the pastries are freshly baked. The patio is open and guests are welcome to sit outside the space at 401 W. Franklin Street.
“We have been adding shade/awnings over all of our outdoor seating along the side and back patio areas to help beat the heat, and will soon be introducing some indoor seating that will also develop over time,” Conary said. “Customers and our business neighbors have been very supportive and we are looking forward to increased visits as we roll into August.”
Perennial partners with Carrboro Coffee Roasters, a local business dedicated to delivering premium coffee beans to North Carolina and beyond. Stop in for an espresso drink or a brewed coffee, and don’t forget to add the house-made syrups to your coffee creation. The flavors include lavender, rosemary, mint, mocha and vanilla.
Perennial’s tea selection is just as extensive. From chai, to London fog, to blue matcha, the menu pleases a variety of taste buds and cravings.
“The menu reflects a few different perspectives, all meant to elevate the guests’ experience,” Conary said.
The seasonal beverages are designed around the herb garden growing in the back of the shop, as well as nonalcoholic creations. Right now the seasonal menu items include Coffee Tonic, Nojito, Hibiscus Fizz and others.
“Part of the inherent joy, besides how amazing they taste, is knowing they are only available for a short time and you need to treasure those moments,” Conary said about the seasonal drinks. “It’s sort of like your favorite berry only being ripe for a narrow window of time.”
With exposed brick walls, high ceilings and soon-to-be-reopened indoor seating, Perennial is a safe haven for work, studying, or relaxing with good company and a beverage, hot or iced, in hand.
“All this adds to the aura of welcomeness that we want to share with our customers and neighbors, with an eye to making this a community hub,” Conary said.
Visit Perennial Cafe Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., or Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.