Home Away From Home: Muddy’s and Coffeehouse Five


Home Away From Home: Muddy’s and Coffeehouse Five

by Vanessa Anthony

As a new mommy, working from home has it’s challenges. But on the weekend my dear hubby handles our little one and gives me several unfettered hours away from home to work uninterrupted. This serves to both give me time out in the world, just as me, not Juno’s mommy and to increase my productivity.But if you are going to spend 3 to 6 hours somewhere working, you want to feel comfortable. While there are lots of great places in NoPo serving tasty treats and comfy atmosphere, few are as friendly as the two I’m about to mention.

Muddy’s Coffeehouse (on N. Mississippi) whose tagline is “Home Away From Home“- is exactly that. They’re always thumping the cool tunes (a great variety of tastes reside here) and the daily strata specials, Muddy’s potatoes and Voodoo Donuts just can’t be beat to fill a hungry belly. I have spent many happy hours over the past three years writing and hanging with no hard glaring, eyebrow raising, pushy wait staff throwing me out.

Coffehouse Five (up the road on N. Albina and Killingsworth) doesn’t have the full breakfasts and lunches that Muddy’s supplies but they do have assorted goodies from Nuvrei (OMG! so tasty), a small selection of soup and sandwiches and they pull a pretty awesome shot here. Across from the PCC Cascade campus, these guys are built for the long term customer- linger as you like they will never harsh you here.

Requirements for a good place to work all day:

Friendly staff– hold the smugger than thou barista with attitude please. My fav spots kick it with an eclectic crew but one thing they have in common is a cheery disposition and a willingness to help. Most of these folks know me by now and welcome me with big smiles and questions about how my little man is doing.

Great Food– this is a must, as you will inevitably be snacking your day away as you work.

Proprietors that let you linger– for me this is a must-have. If they’re too worried about turning tables that you barely feel safe to finish your croissant nevermind write a column or two then forget about it. I need a place that I can stretch out and feel like it’s a second home. Unlike slackers who buy a drip cup of coffee and linger for days, I ALWAYS buy a meal and a large espresso drink- sometimes two meals if I’m there that long. This is a must to support these worker friendly joints who are also still trying to stay afloat during these tough economic times.

Sturdy chairs, roomy tables and cozy atmosphere– I like looking at local artistry hanging throughout when I need a break from the glowing screen. I need a table that has room for my notebook, tape recorder, laptop and my snacks and coffee and a chair that doesn’t make my booty bark.

Free, reliable, “connect and go” wifi– some places cut corners with crappy service that cuts out every 10 minutes, others require passwords and dole out only an hour or two worth’s of wifi time. Information should be free and so should the wifi- if it’s not shared (like Personal Telco) then step off.

Both my favorite hangouts cover all of the aforementioned requirements beautifully and accomplish doing humming business- even in a recession. That’s because when you make your establishment a home away from home you breed customer loyalty. I mean everyone goes home again, at some point.

Muddy’s Coffeehouse
3560 N Mississippi Ave
(503)445-6690

Coffeehouse-Five
740 N Killingsworth St
(503) 286-7125