Cafe Witness

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Juno's Cafe (or: Why Are You Doing What You're Doing?)

I had two meetings downtown yesterday, and with some time to kill in-between, I wanted a cafe with free wi-fi. (Sure, there's free wi-fi if you're outside, but who wants to work outside on a laptop when it's 90 degrees out?)

My friend Rachel suggested Juno's, a new cafe she'd noticed while driving down 6th and Penn, with a "free wi-fi" sign in the window.

The good news? Juno's does, indeed, have wi-fi. (And good coffee, friendly service and a great pseduo-Euro decor.)

The bad news? No power outlets.

The owner confessed she hadn't thought about that because she doesn't have a laptop and never needs to look for outlets as a result.

Here's the irony: downtown Pittsburgh's cafe options are limited to Starbucks and... um, that's it. Juno's is one of the only (if not THE only) independent cafe in the Golden Triangle (not counting coffee carts in office lobbies). And the owner freely admits she's there to provide an alternative to Starbucks...

... so why not research WHAT, exactly, that alternative includes?

Clearly, they're on the right track. They have traditional cafe food, including a new panini machine (for which I was the guinea pig), which helps them differentiate themselves from Starbucks. They have a more intimate layout, and plenty of space to move freely, which should attract college students and freelancers looking for a place to relax and work.

But HOW can they work without outlets?

(Postscript: they're adding outlets soon, because they realize this is a larger issue than they'd initially considered.)

Is there a successful business model that YOU'RE looking to disrupt? WHY do you want to be a disruptor? Are you SURE you understand WHAT elements of that model are worth disrupting -- and HOW?

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  • hope they did a good job cleaning that 'new panini press'
    they got it from the auction i went to on thursday night, from the coffeehouse in moon, which just closed, and from what i could tell, the manager walked out without cleaning a thing...i was gonna buy that press but was a bit leery of the condition of the baked-on grease.
    they are nice people, though. i think they also bought a new brewer and airpots. (same condition as the panini press)
    *ahem* i'm sure it was delicious though. :-D

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2:10 PM  

  • Dude there is also crazy mocha downtown. it is kind of hidden like that one permanti brothers on cherry way. the funny thing is that this crazy mocha is right around the corner from that permanti bros. On forbes in between grant st and cherry way.

    I just also read your post about the right people being connected to twitter at the right moment. I have been disconnected from twitter a lot recently. Through no fault of my own my schedule has kept me on the go and wiped at the end of the night. so i stay unplugged all day. sad but true. anyway all i mean is that you are right I could have helped. By the way there is also a decent starbucks in the omni william penn, good for laptops.

    and if you are hungry and need free wifi Franktuary (formerly HotDogma) has free wifi and outletts downtown.

    happy hunting.

    By Blogger Norm, at 8:49 AM  

  • If wifi is the most important thing, then this is probably the wrong place to post a response- but there is a great coffee/espresso bar in the Frick Building Lobby on Grant Street (21st Street Coffee and Tea). There is another location in the Strip (at 21st and Smallman) that has seating and wifi. Simply the best in downtown Pittsburgh. Oh and the equipment is clean as well.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:06 AM  

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