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The search for the ideal coffee house

Updated: Feb 12

Evaluating familiar coffee shops that you may have spotted near Westfield

Maggie Pasztor

Staff Writer 

February 6, 2024 

Environment, location, and product are all crucial elements that define a top-tier coffee house. What components shape your ideal coffee house? All the answers lie within this review that dips into the wide pool of coffee shops near you.

Parlor Public House (600 E Ohio St Suite B, Indianapolis) 7/10

Stepping through the threshold alone of this coffee house takes the breath out of a human being. How one can so beautifully decorate a space with so many plants without it being considered a botanical garden beats me. This very large loft-style space provides many spots to study or relax. The definition of a hidden gem, this location is nestled within a neighborhood in downtown Indy, but lo and behold, the search will be worth it. Despite my love for the design of the place, I surprisingly was not struck by the pastry assortment, which is always my favorite part. Though slightly overpriced, this coffee house does offer a wide variety of unique drinks, including their Horchata Latte, Nutter Butterfly, London Fog, Borealis, and plenty of other alternatives. The building also offers private events and live music for those who can’t get enough of the greenery-filled scenery. 

Chalet (555 N Illinois Street, Indianapolis) 8.5/10

This 1970s French ski lodge-style coffee establishment offers the perfect cup of local coffee, or, I assume it would, had the espresso machine not been broken at the time of my visit…one can hope the Google reviews can be accurate referring to that statement. Though the interior of the building’s walls are lined with ski lodge-esc decor, the original building was interestingly enough Fire Station 16 and was converted to Chalet in 2016 after the brick building had been vacant for several years. Overall the feel of this coffee encourages guests to kick back and enjoy the pleasantry of the environment; from hanging plants, glass-stained windows, and high tables. The house emitted waves of serenity from the early morning until late in the evening. Ordering their vegan coffee cake was something that initially worried me (can a woman not like her dairy products?), but I thoroughly enjoyed it, even considering the fact that my consumption was distracted by the pain of my braces that I had gotten on that day. The only dig I would give on this shop is that they are slightly overpriced, though personally, their products proved to be worth it to me. As their website says, if delectable pastries and “signature lattes with scratch-made ingredients and local grass-fed jersey milk” is your thing, then this coffee house should be at the top of your list of coffee shops to hit. 

Bovaconti Coffee (042 Virginia Ave, Indianapolis) 9/10

Bovaconti Coffee is by far one of the best coffee shops I have ever had the pleasure of visiting. According to their website, this 1850s historic building originally housed “Bovaconti jewelers for several decades.” With the intention of keeping those historic elements, they included their diamond-shaped logo, and brass and copper details along with other hints to the building's past. Furthermore, while this drive is a bit of a haul, the company is conveniently constructing another location in Carmel, at Main Street and Rangeline Road in the Arts & Design District, aimed to open this Spring. I have been to the location twice, and my experience has been satisfactory each time. On the first visit, I got a pecan croissant, which can be described as nothing more than otherworldly in its delectability. I have genuinely never consumed something as good as that pastry, and on my second visit, I got a raspberry lemonade, their seasonal flavor at the time, which too was incredibly refreshing. The only shortcoming was the limited seating due to the confined space. Otherwise, this café is an excellent stop for coffee connoisseurs. 

Breadworks at Broad Ripple (1050 E 54th St, Indianapolis) 6/10

While they specialize in donuts, Breadworks at Broad Ripple offers a wide range of coffee options. However, out of all of the coffee shops I have visited, I would classify this one as intermediate. It was certainly not anything special, but the glazed donut I got was pretty good. The company was created by a married couple who had lived in France and had developed a love for bread. With this knowledge and ardent interest in the topic, they created this donut shop in hopes of sharing this passion and allowing others to indulge in their recipes. The interior of the space was simple with small details such as bohemian-style light fixtures and colorful candles in place of a chandelier, and the environment was clean though simple. I do recall, however, that at the time of my visit, multiple of the servers were particularly discourteous, whether or not they were all collectively having a bad day or something is beyond me, but that factor negatively altered my experience. Overall I do not necessarily regret my visit but that being said I would not do so again. 

Lemon’s Bakery Café (4755 E 126th St. Carmel) 4/10

This family-owned café was an anomaly to typical cafés, to say the least, and not necessarily in a good way. When I looked at the overview on Google Maps, it was not obvious to me that this Café is actually attached to its neighboring Needlers Fresh Market. While I assume it is convenient for anyone going to the market, I had gone for the café, so I was incredibly confused upon arrival. The design concept of white tile and yellow walls seems cute in theory, but it actually made the space feel particularly sterile. They offered coffee and a wide assortment of mini donuts, but the donuts did not have any indication relating to their flavors, so we just had to randomly assume what they were. We also did not end up finishing them. If you just happen to be taking a trip to Needlers Fresh Market and need a coffee fix then it wouldn’t hurt, but in any other situation, I would not recommend it.

Provider Coffee and Cocktail Lounge (1101 E 16th St, Indianapolis) 9/10

This location is the epitome of all coffee shops, with their “signature latte sauces [and] freshly roasted coffee” as their website advertises. Taking the industrial elements of the building and adding in classic wood furnishing, deep teal backsplashes, and olive green upholstered benches to accompany the rich brick walls created an amazing atmosphere. I got hot cocoa, which had beautiful latte art, and yet another vegan coffee cake. The food was adequate, but the space itself made up for it. This café too had an incredible upstairs floor that can be rented for events, and my mom and I snuck up there to take a peak, (which we probably should not have done in hindsight) but it did not disappoint. Out of all of the coffee shops I have visited, this one would likely be considered my favorite, so if this description sounds intriguing by any means then I certainly advise that you take a trip to Provider Coffee and Cocktail Lounge, as long as you only familiarize yourself with the coffee portion.  

Java House Coffee Bar (145 W Elm St Ste 100, Carmel) 7/10

Since 2019, the Java House company has grown quite successfully since then having multiple occasions spreading within Indiana. Their big seller is that all of their coffee is cold-brewed, as they “take the time to steep [their] beans in cold water for 12+ hours.” This chain too pairs the industrial look with class brick and sleek colors, but they keep it a tad bit more simple. I got a pumpkin load, and a Java House cookie, which were both decent, but not exceptional. Their hot cocoa was good, but for a company that has had quite a while to grow and perfect their recipes, I was not entirely impressed. I would not go out of my way to come here, but if I were in the area I wouldn't mind popping in. The verdict concludes that it was up to par, but not extraordinary.

Indie Coffee Roasters (220 E Main St, Carmel) 8/10

Starting in January of 2013 by selling their beans at local farmers markets, the Indie Coffee Roasters owners have been working their way to expand their business. They currently have three separate locations, two in Carmel (one on Main Street and one on the North End) and one in West Lafayette that opened in September of 2021 according to their website. The owner even took a trip to Rwanda, Kilagi, a country that has some of the best coffee bean growing conditions in the world, to learn about the coffee-making process and origin. My first impression was good, as the staff I had interacted with were all lovely, and the pumpkin cream cheese muffin was also pretty good. The simple modern black and white interior is overdone, but it was still a very enjoyable environment. While not my favorite, it was a worthwhile experience if you are ever in the mood for a rich cup of joe. 

Rivet Coffee Bar and Roastery (337 Jersey St, Westfield) 9/10

Through hard work and dedication, Allie Commons, the founder of Rivet, created a wonderful coffee shop when it seemed impossible to do so during COVID-19. One thing that I really like about this café is its location, just a little ways away from downtown but still close to other attractions including Grand Junction Plaza and the new library. This roastery makes its home in a charming renovated house, with a simple colored design scheme. Their pastries have always been mouthwatering, and their latte art is exceptional. Their menu has a large variety of drink and food options as well. However, the property itself is small, so I don't favor how limited parking spaces there are as well as the little space there is for seating inside. All in all, Rivet is a cute little place to visit for a nice cup of coffee and is relevant to our location. 

Biggby Coffee (1529 S Waterleaf Dr, Westfield) 3/10

Out of all of the coffee houses I have entered, this one is the lowest on my list. I don’t mean to intentionally dump on this coffee house but I’m about to intentionally dump on this coffee house. I have visited Biggby once, and I practically did not like any aspect of it. The environment was aloof and lacking decor, so I immediately was opinionated when walking in. The place was also practically empty for the entire 3 hours I was there, maybe a person or two stopping in. The drink I got, which I do not recall, was not bad, but it wasn’t anything special. I do, however, think it is interesting that it was founded in 1995 by two friends named Bob and Mike because their names are silly. Other than that, I hate to break it to Biggby lovers but there's not much I could recommend. 

Café Jardín (3200 Sheridan Rd, Noblesville) 9/10

Upon entering the confines of this coffee house I was astonished. Café Jardín hands down has to be the mother of all coffee houses, taking the idea of a typical coffee house and improving it tenfold. Originally an old farmhouse dating back to the 1870s, the proprietors used this historical house as a centerpiece of the add-on room they made, incorporating old floorboards and wood panels from the house as shelves and frames. This café not only sells a wide variety of coffees and drinks but also has an entire room, (and not a small one at that) that serves as a home and garden shop. I had initially been afraid that they would not offer any seating, as their website primarily focuses on the Home + Garden aspect; however, they offer a very large variety of seating. I visited this café, as I typically do, with my mom, and between the two of us getting drinks, a pastry each, and an extra pastry, the total came out to be roughly $25. Whether or not that is considered expensive for a coffee shop is up to you, but if it says anything by the end my strawberry banana smoothie was happily gone as was my chocolate croissant. Something neat that they also offered was a loyalty card, in which you get a punch for each drink you purchase and once getting 9 punches you get a free drink. Except, we got an extra punch because they just recently started this system, are encouraging promotion, and are doing so by giving a little something-something to those who support their company early. So if you are interested in browsing their excellent collection of home and garden items and having a wonderful treat along the way then the perfect destination has arisen.

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