As a premier apartment complex in Athens, we’re dedicated to making students’ time at Ohio University as fulfilling as possible. One way in which this dedication shows is through our local business spotlights. By interviewing local businesses, we hope our students will learn something new about their favorite places in Athens.
This interview revolves around Donkey Coffee, a local coffeehouse with a full menu of drinks, pastries, snacks and more. We caught up with Angie Pyle, who co-owns the business with her husband Chris, to learn more about the location and how her love for coffee originated.
Q. What’s the story behind the name ‘Donkey Coffee’?
A. My husband didn’t want a cliché coffee shop name, and at the time he called his friends “Donkey” and “Donkey head” as a term of affection. He said to me, “How about ‘Donkey’ for the name of our business?” I said, “No way!” People are going to say, “I’m going to Donkey.” That makes no sense.But he won and the year we opened we were voted “Best Business Name” in the Athens News Reader’s Choice Awards. We’ve had many people ask us if it’s because we’re Democrats, or Christians, but it’s really very anti-climactic where Donkey got its name.
Q. How long have you been in business? What got you started?
A. Donkey opened in April 2002. My husband and I wanted to open a place uptown that wasn’t a bar that would encourage community among the people of Athens, and visitors to our town. It needed to be a place whose atmosphere encouraged people to come and stay for a while and also a place where people didn’t have to spend a lot of money. We borrowed a ton of money and completely renovated the old Athens Office Supply space.
Q. What kinds of coffees/drinks do you serve? Do you have a favorite?
A. Donkey offers all of the drinks one might find at Starbucks or any specialty coffee shop. We’re proud of our Italian-style cappuccinos and our lattes.
Q. What is the most popular item on the menu?
A. Our coffee milkshakes, or Frescante, is a very popular drink. You can get it with or without the coffee and it comes in many different flavor options. Also popular is our chai, which is a great alternative to hot chocolate for folks who want some caffeine but not coffee.
Q. What sets Donkey Coffee apart from other coffee shops?
A. The sheer size of Donkey (over 3,000 square feet) sets us apart, but also the cozy living room vibe leaves an impression. The original, local artwork throughout the shop along with the excellent music helps people hunker down in a good book or conversation.
Q. What is the best thing about doing business in Athens?
A. Getting to know the great people of Athens.
Q. What are some of your own favorite places to eat, shop, etc. in Athens?
A. We love eating at Casa Nueva, Salaam and Avalanche! Pizza.