Saturday, 7 May 2016

McCune Smith Cafe & Shop

3-5 Duke St
G31 1DL
Espresso, Aeropress, V60
Coffee: Dear Green & guests
Also: Meals, cakes, snacks
Coolness: Sharing the love of slavery abolitionist James McCune Smith

McCune Smith Cafe & Shop (3♥) is at the East end of central Glasgow, near the Strathclyde University campus.

It's a triple-fronted shop with windows from the floor to ceiling and has local roaster Dear Green as their house bean provider, alongside guests. You can savour espresso based drinks as well as traditional old-school filter, aeropress and V60.

The rationale behind the cafe's name is outlined on the menu. James McCune Smith was a 19th century African-American physician, apothecary, slavery abolitionist, and author. When he was denied admission to American universities due to his race, he applied and was accepted by the University of Glasgow. Supported by the Scottish Enlightenment, he was the first African American to receive a university medical degree.

The theme continues throughout the menu that includes enlightened sandwiches and enlightened breakfast pots, many named after other legendary activists and thinkers. The friendly folk at this cafe make all their own food which is wholesome, tasty and varied. The Tobias Smollett enlightened sandwich is has spring green pesto, red cabbage and apple slaw & goats cheese. The Frances Wright is Kentucky ham, homemade sweetcorn relish & salad. They also do some big Saturday brunches including the 'McCune Smith': scrambled eggs, Connage Dairy gouda and sliced pastrami on toasted rye and Mexican eggs: scrambled eggs with jalapeno, tomato, cheddar and toasted tortillas, among the usual favourites. The home-baked cakes are super and they also have salads, soups and regularly changing specials.

The decor is simple and elegant with a mix of high stools, soft benches, chairs and tables. The high ceilings and massive windows make it a very pleasant space to be.

After leaving Scotland and returning to the USA McCune Smith went on to achieve amazing (and courageous) things in his relatively short life but was quickly forgotten by his own family who didn't talk about him due to racial prejudices.

All in all this cafe is a winner. And we totally love the profile they're giving Dr McCune Smith because he so deserves to be remembered.


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