Mental Spaces–High Ground Café


(Branding photo credit: High Ground Café)

The spring semester is over, but don’t fret honors comrades! I’m still on campus to deliver the best food-related blogs fit for your needs. The Mental Spaces blog series is kicking off this summer at High Ground Café, the best spot in the Northside Marketplace to grab coffee on the go or hang out for several hours while you struggle to read about the Pop Art movement and its relation to the Beatles for your ICRU project and end up procrasti-blogging… Maybe that’s a personal problem.


(Definitely a personal problem… this thing is almost four hundred pages long.)

The reason I love High Ground so much is that the coffee drinks are always PERFECT and the baristas are up for anything. While I normally go for the dark roast of the day, one of my favorite drinks is a concoction they call the “muchacho,” which is a deliciously spicy mocha with cayenne pepper and cinnamon. It isn’t too sweet, and the extra spicy kick gives me just as much focus as the espresso. The above picture is the muchacho in its iced form (WAY too hot outside for the normal version today).

On top of their delicious scones and breads, High Ground also offers a really nice selection of sandwiches that you can pair with soup, chips, or salad if you’re legitimately hungry and pastries do not suffice.


(This is the caprese sandwich. Caprese itself is amazing, but on toasted bread as a panini? The best. Plus, look at those greasy, delicious chips.)

I have may fond memories of this café, from casual breakfast dates with friends before we start our days to the more momentous occasion when I interviewed for my job at Northside Bistro with the lovely and beautiful Christa Walrath way back in February of last year. (I got the job if you were wondering… you probably weren’t.)

Additionally, if you need a nice summer refresher, High Ground has amaaaaazing cold drinks. Sometimes I walk to work, which results in me hating myself as this consists of a trek all the way from Lucas & Bowery to Market & Linn, but sometimes it seems worth it if I pop in to High Ground to grab a strawberry banana smoothie before crossing the street to the bistro.


(A little bit of pink aesthetic as I snap a pic of one of the books for my GWSS class this summer, taught by the wonderfully smart and equally rad Rachel Williams.)

As you can see, pictured above, there is patio seating! It’s excellent in the summer months to do work out in the fresh air, but it’s shaded enough that you don’t blind yourself when the light reflects off of your book pages and you don’t sweat into your homework. Inside, there’s a comfy couch that I always like to occupy, but there are plenty of high tops and café-style tables to hang out alone or in large groups. The atmosphere is super casual, and the music can range from early Bob Dylan to postmodern techno to video game soundtracks to Lana Del Rey. It’s really dependent on who is working, but I’ve never been upset at the aural experience here.

But wait! There’s more! In the winter, in front of my cozy little couch, there is a FIREPLACE! YAS. It’s excellent:


(Unlit right now as it is hotter than Hades outside, this fireplace is the central focus of my favorite study corner when the fall semester rolls around.)

I also truly enjoy the artwork hanging around High Ground. Better than what you might see in a coffee shop parody Portlandia sketch, the artworks are replaced often to keep the wall space transient and beautiful–a lovely atmosphere for any arts and humanities student or appreciator of the arts.


(I spy with my little eye… coffee shop art that isn’t bad! Also pastries. Delicious, delicious pastries.)

A bonus for you honorables, as we are a community of smarty-pants individuals, there is a new trivia question every day on a chalkboard by the register that will earn you $0.10 off of your order if you answer it correctly. This doesn’t seem like a lot, but the personal satisfaction if you get it right is totally worth it. My last victory came from the question, “What are the three fossil fuels?” I answered correctly with “coal, oil, and natural gas.” That is the only time in my college career that my science education became useful. Not even joking.

As always, here is a provided link to learn more about your local café culture on the Northside:

We all need coffee breaks, so y’all need very little convincing. Cheers!



Style- Casual

Food- Sandwiches, Salads, Soups, Pastries, Coffee, Tea, Espresso, Blended Drinks

Pricing- Inexpensive

Location- Northside

Accommodations- Outlets / WiFi / COFFEE / Couches / Fireplace / Patio

Ideal Mental Space for- Group Projects, Solo Work, & Artistic Inspiration


by Katie Kiesewetter, Junior

Areas of Study: English; Studio Art (Graphic Design); Gender, Women’s, and Sexuality Studies

Hometown: Farmington, IL


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