Top Heavy Coffee will soon bust out the brew in Niles

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By: Geoff Lesar
glesar@flavor574.com

Photo supplied/Bradley Austin

A new destination for caffeine connoisseurs is coming to downtown Niles.

Eric Halder and his wife, Wendy, hope to have Top Heavy Coffee at 205 E. Main St. ready to raise heart rates by April.

“It’s always been something that I’ve wanted to do and my wife kind of adopted the dream,” said Halder, a member of Lake Michigan College’s marketing department. “Just living in Niles, there’s no real good place to just kind of go get together with your friends or go draw and read a comic book. Eventually we got tired of waiting and decided to start up our own.”

The couple, along with co-owner Tommy Panigot, decided on Grand Rapids’ Madcap Coffee as their bean distributor. Panigot, a childhood friend of Wendy, brings a background in branding at Seattle’s Slate Coffee to the Top Heavy team.  

“With Madcap, it was just kind of love at first sight, because their coffee, for me, tasted good at all times of the day,” Halder said.

“It’s all very top heavy. You go from this vast thing to just a drop in the cup.”

In addition to tea and coffee variations, Halder said his heritage influenced proposed menu items. 

“I’m of Bengali descent, which is close to Indian. So whenever we drink tea or a hot beverage, you have to have something to just kind of nibble on,” he said.

To that end, the couple plans to push pastries, biscuits, artisan toast, oatmeal, granola and fruits.  

“Eventually we would like to branch out to the lunch crowd,” Halder said. “From the get-go I don’t believe we’re going to feature any sandwiches or anything, but we want to build into the menu soups, sandwiches and all that jazz.”

Halder expressed interest in allowing a rotating art gallery within the space, as well as hosting themed events such as a “science cafe,” featuring members of the Andrews University physics department. 

“For us, we want the atmosphere and the coffees and the teas,” said Halder. “We want it to be welcoming.”

As for the name, Halder said it’s about the big picture.

“The whole process of coffee, from the trees to the beans to equipment — it’s all very top heavy. You go from this vast thing to just a drop in the cup.”

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