A little history and a lot of heart: how one couple is working to create community in Portsmouth.
PORTSMOUTH, Va. — In the middle of the pandemic, The Coffee Shoppe in Portsmouth faced shutting down. The store on the corner of Middle and High streets had been around for almost two decades, serving coffee, and its history was rich.
The owner knew she needed to sell, and she approached Tiffany Linton.
“In her words, God told her that this shop was for us,” Tiffany said.
Tiffany and her husband Lamar prayed about the opportunity and talked to family and friends.
“It was a little emotional because we were like, it’s a pandemic. Do you really buy a coffee shop in a pandemic?” Tiffany smiled as she looked around the business that she now owns.
The building in Old Towne is small, but Tiffany said that doesn’t matter.
“You come in here, and you don’t look at the small lobby, the old furniture, or the brick walls. You don’t see that. You see the heart that’s here,” she nodded.
Kindness and love radiate through the shop, and you can feel it the moment you walk in.
“We call ourselves like the small Cheers of Old Towne,” Tiffany laughed, comparing the Coffee Shoppe to the old sitcom. Having a family feel in Portsmouth is important to Tiffany because this is where she grew up.
“It’s like, I remember being down here when I was young. I remember coloring windows on the buildings from James Hurst Elementary school. So seeing that still happening and being a part of that makes me feel like I got brought home a little bit,” she smiled.
The family atmosphere here starts with the staff, “My favorite part? Is working with my wife. Honestly,” Lamar Linton grinned from ear to ear as Tiffany operated the kitchen behind him.
These two work as one, and though Lamar is the jokester and funny guy upfront, Tiffany is the magic in the kitchen.
“We pretty much just try to incorporate everything and anything we have in house into a sandwich or into a salad or a wrap,” said Tiffany.
Of course, burritos are a customer favorite. The bagels are also delicious and for a good reason. Tiffany ships them straight from New York, so you get your New York-style bagel, served with a side of authenticity.
Here’s the thing: there’s a bit of Cajun spice in this Coffee Shoppe because Lamar is from New Orleans.
“Again, I’m biased. I’m from Louisiana, so the jambalaya, the Cajun jambalaya that we make in-house and the old-fashioned club,” he talked about his favorites. However, his number one choice? “I’m more of an Ol’ Smokey guy,” he smiled. The Ol’ Smokey is a pulled pork sandwich. The pork is smoked for 20 hours in-house.
“It’s named after my mom. Her nickname is Smokey,” Lamar nodded with a smile.
The food is one thing. But the coffee is another. The Coffee Shoppe owners may be new, but the barista is not. Allen Hudson is experienced and knows how to make a good cup of joe.
“We don’t concentrate our cold brew. Our cold brew is made in-house. The way we steep it is amazing. People love it. They go crazy over it,” said Lamar as Allen smiled in the background.
13News Now can confirm that the cold brew is delicious and hits all the right notes. They have a creative specials board that switches every month with themes. For example, June’s theme is superheroes.
They also serve the classics or bring new drinks to your pallet, “One of our biggest things is the Trust Me Latte, so you just got to trust us on it, and then you’ll fall in love,” Lamar gushed over the coffee.
Though the food is good and the coffee is excellent. There is something else to this spot that makes it all the more special: the atmosphere. It can be fast-paced, and you can be in and out in minutes. But, I suggest you sit and stay awhile. Take a seat and feel the love that wraps around you as you sip your coffee. This place, honestly, gives a moment of peace in a world that can sometimes be a bit chaotic.
“I want you to come in. I want to know who you are. You’re not just a number to us, you’re not just a monetary note to us, you’re family to us,” said Lamar. It rings true. You truly will feel a sense of belonging no matter who you are here.
“That’s our goal, we just want everyone to feel like family when you walk in the door, and we want you to leave even happier,” echoed Tiffany. Family, coffee, and good food can be found here.
The Coffee Shoppe also offers alcohol when the time calls for it. They aren’t stopping with the brunch crowd either. Once a month, they have live music for the evening crew.
Also, here’s an insider alert for you: the Lintons say that a “big surprise” is coming this June! We will be sure to bring you an update on 13News Now!