The Commonplace wins second place at America’s Best Coffeehouse regional competition

Commonplace Coffee placed second in the America's Best Coffeehouse National Championship held in Portland. (Photo courtesy of

The Commonplace Coffeehouse and Roastery took second place in the Eastern Regional Championship for America’s Best Coffee House in New York City Saturday and Sunday.

Along with its second-place plaque, The Commonplace earned a $1,000 prize. Café Grumpy, a New York City coffeehouse, took first place and will advance to the National Championship Finals in Portland.

According to T.J. Fairchild, the owner of The Commonplace, Café Grumpy was the competitor that made The Commonplace “stand up the straightest” before arriving to the competition.

The regional competition, sponsored by Coffee Fest, was a two-day event that featured six coffeehouses from the eastern United States.

The coffeehouses were judged on friendliness, aptitude, drink quality, teamwork and overall coffeehouse operation. They were allotted 15 minutes to set up, 30 minutes of operation and 15 minutes to clean up.

At the end of the day Saturday, The Commonplace and two other coffeehouses advanced to the top three and competed again on Sunday. Because the process was identical on both days, the Commonplace team had a chance to correct mistakes they made on Saturday, Allyson Whitacre, The Commonplace manager, said.

“We changed a few things on the second day,” Whitacre said. “We added ice to our signature drink and also changed our communication style. We ran out of time on the first day and had a little hiccup on a couple of our drink orders, so we worked on those things for the next day.”

Whitacre said she believes that this competition will help the Commonplace staff improve the way they have been doing business on a regular basis.

“The judges gave us feedback at the end and told us things that we can improve on, and I think it will really help how we can efficiently run the shop,” she said. “Our goal this year as a company is to do more marketing, and that’s something else that this competition helped us achieve.”

Whitacre said that The Commonplace employees are excited to run in Coffee Fest’s competition again, along with other similar competitions.