Good place, but they took items I ordered most off the menu.
Stucky's of St Louis. Those of you of a certain age will remember Stuckys roadside stores back in the 70's. Coffee Cartel is the Stuckys of St Louis. Coffee is no longer their specialty. They dont have a specialty but sell EVERYTHING. The coffee is horrible, the staff is young, rude and diva like (especially the male staff). Smoky no matter where you sit. The table are off balance and they have no intention of fixing them. Their coffee is far more expensive and far less tasting then Starbucks which is just down the block. Coffee Cartel was a great place when the previous owner was around. The new owner is just clustering it up with ice cream, video games, pool tables, liquor, etc. I'm sure they have the "Stucky's Log Roll" somewhere, I just havent found it.
As Scary as It Sounds.
I took my family to Coffee Cartel last weekend, as part of our Central West End Art Fair and Taste experience. After a long wait and a lack of service by the staff, I made a constructive suggestion (to fix the problem) and was confronted by the owner "Dennis" who told us (me, wife, child, in-laws) to take our business elsewhere. If you're a Seinfeld fan, think "Soup Nxzi". The poor service, which I've encountered before at this place but not to this degree, and intolerance to (polite, constructive) feedback is sad. If you want to be a continuing customer, don't think of complaining, unless you want to be banned by Dennis Gorg -- aka the "Coffee Dictator".
Details: We waited over 10 minutes in line, though the place was not yet too busy. There were plenty of staff, but they didn't seem to notice the line of waiting customers. One staff person sauntered by talking on a cell phone, in a personal conversation: holding the cell phone to her ear with one hand while trying to cut a mini-pizza with the other.
A family behind ours finally gives up and leaves. At last a staff person tells me (and the rest of the waiting people) to come to the cashier, as they don't take orders from the counter at which we were all gathered. This counter is where you naturally arrive when entering the restaurant from the main entrance, and has the ice cream -- which many customers were wanting on this hot day. So I suggest (calmly, mind you, no shouting or offensive content) to the staff person that the staff should be checking the line at the counter, to avoid backlog, customers leaving the restaurant, etc. She seems to brush this off. I get our food, we are eating and this casually dressed man approaches our table saying, "I'm Dennis, what's your name?" As I don't know him, but suspect he's a salesman, I tell him my name is "unlisted." This clearly annoys him: "so you're not going to tell me your name?" In the ensuing conversation, I learn he is the store owner, I tell him what I've observed. I notice at some point he has a staff person with him, and he ultimately makes clear that what he's doing is showing her how to tell problem customers to get lost. As he is doing so, more customers enter the store, and wait awhile at the counter. And...then turn around and walk out! He seems oblivious to this event, even though I had just told him about the same situation earlier. My guess is that he is more interested in being the boss/owner, and doing what he pleases, than about running a cafe/restaurant. This is not uncommon with small business owners, but is hardly a boon for the Central West End.
It's a swell place to hang out. The Coffee Cartel has its ups and downs - its a good place to hang out and get food and drink, socialize and pass the time - the staff is quarky and fun - the store is fairly well maintained for a 24 hour establishment - although i think it ran better when that younger, hotter manager was working there - i'm an STARBUCKS fan myself, but i'll still frequest the place for a good time - bring back the studly manager!
can't beat the coffee. I love this place! you can't beat their coffee! They have saved me so many times when I needed a quick caffiene rush. The service is always friendly and fast. Keep up the good work guys!
Nasty, nasty everything. These people can't do a single thing right. The coffee is horrible, the smoothies are horrible, the nachos are a disaster, and the hummus is catastrophic. They can't even work a food processor properly to mash the garbanzo beans for the hummus. The hummus was sort of awkwardly chunky and flavorless. One would think nachos are hard to get wrong but this place can't even handle that. If you're not up for a wired paste of garbanzo beans then don't take a dive and try their nachos. It was a horrible concoction of stale chips topped with over-processed generic tasting salsa and cheese. I could have eaten better at the local prison. The coffee won't make up for the snack experience. The stuff tastes burnt and generally leaves a bad aftertaste. Save your money and just splash some cold water on your face. I give this place one star for having wireless Internet so that I could write this review.
Yuck! Nasty! Gross!.
Beware of the Coffee Cartel in the Central West End of St Louis these days. I used to frequent the Coffee Cartel often, but now avoid at all costs. The services is mediocre, some of the staff are friendly while others are totally rude. The coffee is horrible. The coffee tastes watered down, or something? It just doesn't taste good at all. The place is dirty, and I mean really dirty. The windows are streaked with hand prints and god knows what else. The floors are nasty and sticky. The air vents are caked with a year of dirt and body grime. The bathrooms are really gross. They are never clean. I would never sit on a toilet because there is almost always orange yellow urine all over the seat. There are never paper towels or soap and these piddly cheap hand driers that almost never work (even when they do work, they don't really dry hands), and it stinks like urine and human feces.
The free wifi is horrible too because there is some 02 Connect company trying to make me pay for the internet. I thought is was free? I tried to plug into the wired network recently and was disappointed that the Ethernet hubs don't work anymore either. Must be the old gum somebody discarded in them.
There used to be beautiful tropical planters on the patio, but now there are some sad burned up planters that look like they haven't been watered in a month. There is also a dead tree that is probably going to fall on someone trying to choke down their terrible coffee on the patio. There is almost always someone begging for money or smokes, or trying to sell you something while you are trying to drink your coffee.
Another thing that I must bring up is the no free or discounted refill. Why not? They are already charging over 2 bucks for a cup of coffee, and they cannot offer a discounted or how about FREE refill? I feel like I am being punished as a customer when I go to the coffee cartel.
They had better clean up there act (literally) and stop gorging the customers.
The Coffee Cartel is a zero in my opinion.
I am really disappointed in the Coffee Cartel in the Central West End of St. Louis. The CWE is getting classier and classier and more and more people are coming to the bars. But the Coffee Cartel is just getting nastier and nastier.
The Coffee Cartel's patio is always full of cigarette butts and it looks like it hasn't been cleaned since the old owner last hosed it off (as he did nearly every day at 6am). But the current owner doesn't seem like he cares about anything except squeezing every penny out of the place until it's run straight into the ground.
Upon entering, usually the first thing you notice (after you notice the oily hand prints on the glass doors) is the length of the line. Then after you stand in it for a bit, you begin to notice that it isn't exactly moving as the untrained employees kid around and get in each others way and forget things like your bagel. Coffee Cartel could learn quite a few things about efficiency from Starbucks.
One thing I give Coffee Cartel is its attempt to have wireless internet. At least it is not the T-mobile paid hotspots at Starbucks. But the truth is it's absolutely lousy too. Coffee Cartel has signs all over its windows about free wi-fi and free wireless printing. Well, wireless printing -- they must be crazy. Seriously, there is no printer there. The network is alway slow if it works-- usually you are bombarded by this pay to surf company, and if you can get on the Coffee Cartel's wireless network, you always lose your connection. The final icing on the cake after you get your computer out and figure out you can't get on the internet with your wireless, is that even the ethernet ports where you can plug in don't work at all.
The floors are always sticky and dirty, you can tell the air vents haven't been cleaned probably since the new owner bought the place, and the bathrooms, they deserve their own individual review--talk about really gross with no soap!
Place is Great! Serious Slander.
First, take and judge Coffee Cartel for yourself. Here is an example of a seriously disgruntled person who has nothing better to do then make up screen names and slam us.
When you enter Coffee Cartel you will find teh place clean. We have a full time person who does nothing but clean. Our four bathrooms are clean and checked all the time. There are no paper towels because we are saving paper and have installed hand dryers. The internet does work and is free., The internet plug ins work fine. We regularly win Best of Awards from local publications and are featured a lot. Im pleased to tell you taht we have over 1,000 customers a day and most are regulars. They ALL can't be wrong, can they? And this one guy is right?
I encourage you to get opinions about where you wnat to go, however, beware of the intentions of those writing. Not everything you read is true. Make up your own mind.
Worst St. Louis Coffee House.
This place has to be the dirtiest, least service oriented place in the Central West End. With a clientele of overnight vagabonds that make it dangerous for students, restrooms that can only be described as disgusting (try to find a paper towel to dry you hands or toilet paper... EVER!) and coffee that is more of a tea consistency (not to mention, no discounted refills! While at Starbucks right across the street a large refill is 55 cents... for Starbucks coffee!!!! 2 cups at Starbucks = $2.46 2 cups at Coffee Cartel $4.22 and for coffee that is lukewarm and will have you reaching for your TUMS!)
The service staff could care less if you have a complaint and count your change carefully on big orders.
The only redeeming feature of this place is it is open 24/7 but I'd be hard pressed to want to be there at 3 a.m.
This is a must to avoid, when there are so many better choices for coffee and atmosphere.
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