Review: Persnickety Crane Cafe

New local cafe/coffee shop combo brings eclectic flair and vibrant menu to the Hampton Roads area

Persnickety: (noun) “placing too much emphasis on trivial or minor details, fussy, requiring a particularly precise or careful approach.” This word, as defined by Google, epitomizes the essence of the aptly named Persnickety Crane Cafe. Nestled in the Village Avenue shopping center at the edge of Newport News and Yorktown, it is one of Hampton Roads’s newest cafe destinations that is sure to remain a cherished establishment in the community.

The wide variety of food and beverage options available make the Persnickety Crane a perfect place for all kinds of patrons to find something they enjoy. When I visited (for the umpteenth time) this past week, I chose their Sublime Berry Bowl, an acai bowl advertised on their menu as being optimal for skin, bone and nail health. The classic acai berry and banana blended smoothie base was perfectly complemented with different sprinklings of fruits, seeds and nuts portioned in five long stripes across the bowl. Sunflower seeds, chocolate chips, fresh strawberry slivers, chia seeds and halved walnuts offered a variety of distinct flavors, which came together to create a bowl that was as healthy as it was delicious.

The other acai bowl options they had available were refreshingly unique with different selections of toppings, adding to their diverse menu that is sure to showcase whatever you’re in the mood for. Sandwiches, salads and baked goods that vary by the day are also available.

The Persnickety Crane offers a wide variety of coffee choices, and their drink menu is organized based on how much espresso and milk are in whatever drink you’re thinking about ordering. They offer a variety of different specialty teas, juices and different brands of water if coffee isn’t up your alley.

Their Mocha Latte with a shot of peppermint syrup made for the perfect peppermint mocha when I visited one afternoon, complete with creamy latte foam and chocolate shavings on top. It tasted much more flavorful and artisanal than something you might get at Starbucks or Dunkin, and it always feels good to support a local small business.

The interior of the Persnickety Crane Cafe is an eclectic space in every aspect, from its seating options to its quirky logo above the front door, which depicts a white crane wearing a hat and a bow tie clutching a coffee up in one of its taloned feet as it balances on the other like a flamingo. Framed photographs, quotes painted on wooden boards and inspirational sayings line the creamy yellow side wall opposite from the ordering counter. Under the cream and sugar station is a wide collection of board games for patrons to enjoy, whether they are families looking for something to entertain even their youngest members or college students eager for a distraction from their work.

In the back of the establishment is a children’s play area and a fish tank that draws in the interested eyes of kids and adults alike. Old burlap coffee bean bags line the wall to the restrooms. The cafe gleams with light wood paneling, driftwood decorations and plants on every table. Orange, yellow, blue and green are the main colors present throughout the cafe, appearing everywhere from chairs to wall decorations, creating a kaleidoscopic air of vibrance and diversity everywhere.

Although Newport News already has a couple independent coffee shops and cafes in a similar vein, the Persnickety Crane stands out. It doesn’t have the same clean-cut, simplistic vibe of Canvas Coffee House or the cozy, woodsy vibe that Aromas offers. The quirky and unique vibe that the Persnickety Crane brings to the table rounds out the trifecta of beloved coffee shop/cafe combos that always end up rivaling Starbucks.

One of the best things about the Persnickety Crane Cafe is its appeal to all kinds of customers. Its proximity to CNU and Thomas Nelson secures it a spot on the list of great local study spots. Its children’s area creates an environment for play dates for the kids and coffee dates for their parents at the same time. It’s also sure to attract patrons from its next-door neighbor, Coastal Community Church, on Sundays after services.

The Persnickety Crane Cafe has already become a beloved place in the Newport News community because of its welcoming atmosphere and its immediate reputation as being an environment for all.

~Anna Dorl, Lifestyle Editor~

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