Located on the intersection of highway 84 and county road 27 in downtown Enterprise, Alabama, Darden’s Old World Cafe is a great little coffee shop and restaurant good for a bite to eat or just a place to relax for a few hours.
Inside, the place feels like an old Irish pub: hardwood floors and tall brick walls. There is one couch beneath one of the tall front windows, and a handful of table and chairs, plus a bar area with a handful of stools. Usually, jazz or classic rock is playing over the sound system. Black-and-white photos adorn the walls.
At the time of this writing, Darden’s has only been open for a handful of weeks, so they’re still solidifying their hours, but according to Tracy, the owner, they plan to be open from 7 a.m. until 9 p.m.
Their basic cup of coffee is an affordable $1.45, making them cheaper than any of the other coffee shops in town, with free refills, and the coffee is simply delicious. They use only Fair Trade coffee. They also offer the standard selection of coffee shop drinks: lattes, mochas, espressos, and blended smoothies.
They serve food until about 4 or 5 p.m., with prices ranging from the $3.95 for most dishes (Meatball sandwich, BLT, chicken salad on a potato roll, a mug of the daily soup, or a baked frittata) up to $8.25 for the most expensive item on the menu – a delicious pesto pasta with bacon. For dessert, they offer a selection of cakes and pies, most in the $2-3 range per slice.
Darden’s has free wireless internet access for all paying customers, and there are several power plugs scattered along the walls for when your batteries need a recharge. Be aware that the shop faces due west, so in the afternoon, it can be difficult to escape the sun: you’ll want to protect your laptop accordingly from overheating and glare. That said, the same afternoon sun lends the place a pleasant warmth, even in the middle of winter.
Darden’s also has a piano free for any patron to play, so it can be a fun place to show off your musical talents. The owners plan to get some live music acts or poetry readings going soon, and to offer a course teaching Gaelic.
The staff are very friendly and approachable, if a little inexperienced. They often forget to bring necessities like silverware, but are prompt to fix their errors. The owner, Tracy, is often out and about in the shop, engaging patrons in conversation and generally making them feel welcome.
Students from the local community college are frequent patrons of Darden’s: the quiet atmosphere and wireless internet access makes it a good place to study. The couch is a great place to curl up with a book, but it fills up quickly, since there’s only the one couch, so you’ll want to snag it early.
An interesting bit of trivia: Darden’s gets its name not from the owner’s surname, but because the word Darden is an acronym of the initials of the owners’ children. The children themselves are frequent employees of the shop, and even the youngest of them is helpful and respectful.
Whether you’re a native of Enterprise or just passing through, stop in to Darden’s for a cup of coffee. You won’t regret it.