Okay, we’ll say it: IT’S FALL Y’ALL! Sweater season has officially arrived & we’re here to make sure you don’t stay on the couch for another movie marathon. Instead, visit Youngstown & Mahoning County for the many fall-tastic happenings. Keep scrolling for our ultimate guide to fall – festivals, pumpkin pickin’ & spiced lattes included.

Raid the stores for lederhosen and practice your guten tag – Oktoberfest is next week and you won’t want to miss it. The new Rhine Haus Bier Hall (opening soon) is celebrating big September 28-30 with their first-ever Youngstown Oktoberfest. Expect authentic German cuisine, live music, pretzel tosses, beer belly contests and a lot more on Phelps Street in downtown YO, right next to Suzie’s Dogs & Drafts. If you get lost, just follow the polka music & pierogi scents.

Mahoning County fall fests = your one-stop shop for all things fall. Pick any weekend from now until October 28 and celebrate the season at White House Fruit Farm. Their Fall Celebration Weekends include a petting zoo, pony rides, food vendors, caramel apples, cider, donuts – the list goes on. It’s family-friendly and extremely popular among locals and visitors. The fall fare continues with Molnar Farms’ Fall Fest on Saturday, September 29 from 9am-5pm. Find home décor from 20+ featured vendors. The Boardman Rotary is hosting its 42nd Annual Oktoberfestival on Sunday, September 30. Check it out at Boardman Township Park from 9am-5pm (pro tip: wear comfortable shoes). And if you’re one of those “it’s not fall until October” kind of people, then wait until the Fall Festival happening at Lamppost Farm on Saturday, October 6. It’s open to all ages, with hayrides, games, demos & fall food for purchase.

We can’t promise you’ll find the Great Pumpkin, but we can at least tell you where to find lots of pumpkins n’ patches in Mahoning County. During the first three weekends of October, visit Mill Creek MetroParks Farm for their Pick a Pumpkin events. It includes a tractor ride ($1) out to their patch, a pumpkin ($3) and decorating session. White House Fruit Farm’s pumpkin pavilion is also now open to visitors. But, for those that are ready to get elbow-deep in pumpkin goop, head to Fellows Riverside Gardens for Pumpkin Carving October 11-13. All carved pumpkins will then be showcased in their Pumpkin Walk at Twilight on Sunday, October 14 (date night anyone?).

Disclaimer: the following events might lead to nightmares. Haunted house lovers and fans of fear, the Canfield Scaregrounds is where you need to be. Open every weekend from September 28 – October 31, the Canfield FairScaregrounds is home to six terrifying attractions (think: barn of evil, haunted circus, zombie massacre). For ticket prices and discounts visit canfieldscaregrounds.com. In other spooky news, you can take a tour of the historic Oak Hill Cemetery on Saturday, October 27. Enjoy The Twilight Zone performed on stage at the Hopewell Theatre, or see The Addams Family performed by YSU Theater October 19-28.

This season, local shops are pulling out all of the stops when it comes to fall-themed goodies. Here’s where you need to go:

  • Branch Street Coffee Roasters: check their Instagram for all the deets on their new fall flavor releases
  • High Octane Coffee Co.: try their pumpkin iced latte & specialty ice cream
  • Handel’s Ice Cream: seasonal flavors include caramel apple, pumpkin pecan & pumpkin ripple (lots of locations)
  • White House Fruit Farm: pumpkin donuts (the best), pumpkin roll, apple cider, pies & anything else you could possibly want
  • The Orange Avocado: a quaint juicery now serving pumpkin cheesecake and pumpkin pie smoothies

 Make the most out of this season and get your fall on while in the Youngstown area! Out of date night ideas? See a performance at Hopewell Theatre. Ready to carve pumpkins? Pick the perfect one from the MetroParks Farm’s patch. Craving sweets? We bet those White House pumpkin donuts are calling your name. To stay up-to-date on upcoming fall events in Youngstown & Mahoning County, visit our Facebook page or take a look at the Mahoning County Convention & Visitors Bureau website!

Celebrate your patriotism with friends and family at one of the many fireworks shows in Youngstown & Mahoning County! And along with fireworks, there is also a variety of fourth of July festivals and celebrations happening. Below you’ll find times, dates and more details about each local festivity.

Canfield Rotary Fireworks Fest
When: Saturday, June 30
The annual Canfield Rotary Fireworks Fest is on June 30 this year, held at the Canfield Fairgrounds. The event is family-friendly and gates open at 6:00pm. There will be live music by JD Eicher, photo ops with Disney characters, pony rides, bounce houses, demonstrations and fair food. The fireworks show will start once it’s dark, around 9:30pm. Attendance is $10 per car load.

Celebrate Poland
When: Saturday, June 30 
Celebrate Poland is a great two-day event, this year on June 29 and 30. Friday includes live music from Disco Inferno, bounce houses, local food vendors and Strawberry Festival. The annual Firemen’s Parade is also on Friday, starting at 6:00pm. Saturday is full of activities, including Poland Idol, arts & crafts, pony rides, a petting zoo, live DJ and more. Fireworks will end the event on Saturday, starting at dusk.

Austintown Fireworks Celebration
When: Sunday, July 1
The Austintown Fireworks Celebration will be held at the Austintown Plaza. Gates open at 3:00pm and the fun starts at 4:00pm. Fireworks will begin at 10:00pm.

Boardman Park Independence Day Celebration
When: Monday, July 2
Bring your lawn chairs and blankets to Boardman Park for their annual fireworks display! Patriotic music performed by The Air Force Band of Flight will begin at 8:00pm, followed by fireworks. Concessions will be available during the show. If it rains, the band will perform inside Boardman High School, at the Boardman Performing Arts Center, and fireworks will be cancelled.

Fireworks in Downtown Youngstown
When: Wednesday, July 4
Watch Downtown Youngstown’s annual fireworks show near the Covelli Centre! The fireworks will begin at 10:00pm. This event is rain or shine and all are welcomed to share in the Independence Day celebration. Front Street will be closed to all vehicle traffic and the surface lots on Front Street will be open. All bridges will be open to enter the downtown area. Boardman Street will be open to vehicle traffic.

 

Don’t miss the local parades on Wednesday, July 4:

Canfield 4th of July Parade 
10:10am, The Green in Canfield
The 53rd annual Independence Day Parade leaves the Fairgrounds at 10:10am and circles the Green. From antique cars and marching bands, to clowns and patriotic floats, the parade has something for the whole family.

Struthers 4th of July Parade 
12:00pm, Fifth Street Plaza in Struthers

Austintown 4th of July Parade
12:00pm, Raccoon Road in Austintown

 

For more events happening in the Youngstown area, visit the Mahoning County Convention & Visitors Bureau website!

As fairways regain their vibrant green hue and bunkers dry, it becomes time for avid golfers to plan their next golf getaway. With 12 diverse courses, you’ll be hard-pressed to find another destination in the Midwest with such great access to affordable, high quality golf courses. Find details about some of the courses below, along with course improvements!

 

Mill Creek Golf Course   

Mill Creek Golf Course features two 18-hole championship courses, designed by Donald Ross. Both courses are par 70 with four sets of tees. Selected by Golfweek as one of America’s 30 Best Municipal Courses, the South Course spans across flat terrain with tree-lined fairways. The North Course waves through tall trees and includes several natural hazards. At Mill Creek’s Fieldhouse, you’ll find a pro shop and a grille room, offering a wide variety of food and beverages.

What’s New?

The Mill Creek MetroParks Foundation recently received a $110,000 donation from the Mahoning Valley Hospital Foundation. The donation will name the Hospital Foundation as a 4-year sponsor of the American Junior Golf Association Tournament, held in June. A portion of the donation will also go towards two beautification projects at the golf course entrances at 224 and West Golf Drive. To stay on top of Mill Creek Course updates, follow their Facebook page.

  

Kennsington Golf Club    

Designed by award-winning course architect Brian Huntley, Kennsington offers an 18-hole, 7,050-yard par 71 course. At Kennsington, enticing lakes, scenic ravines and tree-lined fairways enhance your golfing experience. After a round or two, enjoy food and beverages at the Kennsington Grille. The course is conveniently located adjacent to the Courtyard Marriott Youngstown Canfield – ask about Stay-and-Play Packages.

What’s New?

Kennsington Golf Club is getting ready for their upcoming junior golf camp! The camp will run from June 11 – June 15 and focus on putting, chipping, driving and iron play. The camp costs $150. To register, call Kennsington at 330-533-8733.

 

The Links at Firestone Farms   

The Links at Firestone Farms offers the challenge of a classic links-style course, without the links-style price. As you traverse this course, enjoy panoramic views of an 84-acre lake, along with plush fairways and over 50 bunkers. The Links provides a full-size driving range with all-grass tees, a chipping and putting green, fully stocked pro shop and snack bar.

What’s New?

The course’s driving range is currently under construction, but will make a great practice facility when finished! An official opening date has not yet been announced, but is predicted to be sometime mid-July.

 

Knoll Run   

Situated on 180 rolling acres, Knoll Run is a very challenging par 72 course. Water holes and doglegs will be found on the front and back nines. At Knoll Run, visitors are provided 18 holes, a putting green and chipping area, along with a pro shop and food & beverages.

 

For more information, download our Golf Guide. For more information about all of Mahoning County’s offerings, visit the Mahoning County Convention & Visitors Bureau website!

Did you have a chance to hike and bike the trails mentioned in our last blog? Well, whether you’re ready or not, Mahoning County has even more opportunities for you to enjoy the beautiful outdoors! Below, check out some of the area’s best hunting & archery ranges, along with fishing and boating locations.

Hunting & Archery Ranges

On Target OutfittersWhat is it?

Located in Canfield, On Target Outfitters is a family-friendly youth mentoring ministry, with 21 acres of indoor/outdoor space. On Target Outfitters offers classes that teach children how to safely participate in archery, fishing, hunting and camping. Throughout the summer, kids can attend camps that focus on these different outdoor skills. The indoor archery range is open to the public on Wednesday nights and Saturday afternoons.

What’s Happening?

  • Archery Camps
  • Marksmanship Camps
  • Adventure and Survival Camps
  • Fishing and Hunting Camps

For more details about On Target Outfitters’ upcoming camps and events, visit their website at http://ontargetoutfitters.org/.


Berlin Lake Wildlife Area
You’ll find all sorts of upland game species distributed throughout Berlin Lake’s 7,991-acre Wildlife Area. The brushy uplands provide the perfect spot for rabbit hunting, while several woods and brushy areas make for great squirrel hunting conditions. Open wet meadows allow for woodcock hunting as well. An archery range is open sunrise to sunset and is free-of-charge.

 

Fishing & Boating

Lake Milton State Park
If you’re looking for a fantastic place for water recreation, then Lake Milton is the park for you! At Lake Milton, boating, swimming and fishing are very popular. Designed for unlimited horsepower, boaters have access to three launch ramps. Expect to see a diverse array of fish, including largemouth and smallmouth bass, bluegill, crappie, channel catfish, walleye and muskellunge.


Berlin Lake
Right now is the best time to fish at Berlin Lake! Live bait and spinning lures have proven to be the most effective when fishing in this area. Here you’ll find largemouth and smallmouth bass, white bass, walleye, white and black crappie, bluegill, channel catfish, brown bullhead and muskellunge.

 

Want more information on the hunting ranges and fishing locations of Mahoning County? Check out our new outdoor brochure! A digital copy can be downloaded straight from our website or a printed version can be mailed straight to you, upon request. For more details about all things happening in the Youngstown area, visit the Mahoning County Convention & Visitors Bureau website!

We’re not sure about you, but our spring fever is at an all-time high while we wait for these pesky Ohio temperatures to finally warm up! Thankfully, Mahoning County is ready to treat our fever, with plenty of hiking and biking trails. Get outside, be rid of your spring fever and visit any of these parks’ fantastic trails!

Hiking & Jogging Trails

Mill Creek MetroParks
Difficulty: Easy | trails that are easy to navigate with minimal hills or rough terrain

  • Lily Pond Circle Trail (0.25mi)
  • Nature Trail For All People (0.1mi)
  • East Newport Trail (1.75mi)
  • Davies Wetland Trail (0.25mi)
  • East Golf (1.5mi)


Difficulty: Moderate | slightly longer trails with some steps and inclines

  • East Cohasset Trail (1.5mi)
  • West Cohasset Trail (1mi)
  • West Gorge Trail (1mi)
  • East Gorge Trail (0.5mi)

For a map of all Mill Creek hiking trails, visit this link.


Lake Milton State Park
Located in the northwest corner of this park is an easy, 1.25-mile nature trail. The trail is paved and accessible off Grandview Road near the beach. Another paved trail can be found near the Meshel Park area, off Mahoning Avenue.

Boardman Park
For a smooth and peaceful hike, visit Boardman Park’s 4-mile North Trail. Created out of asphalt pavement, this trail is ADA-accessible and great for families with small children.


Bike Trails

Mill Creek MetroParks Bikeway
Mill Creek MetroParks is home to many great bike trails, however the longest and most significant is the MetroParks Bikeway. This path is part of the 100-mile Great Ohio Lake to River Greenway. A 10.6-mile paved trail stretches from the Mahoning County/Trumbull County line south to Western Reserve Road. Additional expansion of the trail will begin this year. Restrooms and parking can be found at Kirk Road Trailhead, Mahoning Avenue Overpass and MetroParks Farm.

Stavich Bike Trail
The Stavich Bike Trail is the only trail in the United States to cross through two states and three different townships. Along this trail, cyclists will catch views of the Mahoning River, along with plenty of great spots for bird watching.

 

Want more information on the hiking and biking trails of Mahoning County? Check out our new outdoor brochure! A digital copy can be downloaded or a printed version can be mailed straight to you, upon request. For more details about all things happening in the Youngstown area, visit the Mahoning County Convention & Visitors Bureau website!

 

The holiday season is here and with it comes countless holiday traditions and events! From holiday lights to performances there is no shortage of seasonal festivities in Mahoning County. Here are some of the best holiday events in the area to check out in the next couple of weeks!

 

Joy of Christmas Light DisplayJoy of Christmas Holiday Light Display
November 15-December 8, Thursdays through Sundays, 6:00-9:00pm, Open Every Night from December 12-26, 6:00-9:00pm
Firestone Park, 338 E. Park Ave, Columbiana

Come enjoy one million holiday lights in 75 animated light scenes, stroll through the Gingerbread House and view hundreds of homemade gingerbread house displays. Stop by Santa’s Ice Castle for food, entertainment, crafts and Santa! $10 donation per vehicle requested.

 

Memories of Christmas Past
November 23 – January 5, 2020, Tuesdays-Sundays, 12:00-4:00pm; until 7:00pm on Thursdays (Closed Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, & New Year’s Day)
Arms Family Museum, 648 Wick Ave., Youngstown

The Arms Family Museum is sparkling for the holiday season! Memories of Christmas Past, the annual holiday spectacular, is in its 12th year in the 1905 Arts & Crafts mansion of Olive and Wilford Arms. The theme for 2019 is By the Fireside. The seven period rooms of the Arms Family home are filled to the brim with rare, one-of-a-kind, vintage decorations that include ornaments, lighting, trees, and toys.

 

Lanterman's MillOlde Fashioned Christmas at Lanterman’s Mill
November 30 & December 1, 11:00am-5:00pm
Lanterman’s Mill, 980 Canfield Road, Youngstown

Enjoy the traditional holiday atmosphere at Lanterman’s Mill. Fire-roasted chestnuts, artisans demonstrating crafts, unique handcrafted gifts for sale, and festive entertainment will lift your spirits. To share the holiday spirit with others, bring a new hat, scarf, or pair of mittens to decorate a “Giving Tree.” Donated items will warm up children in need this winter.

 

Winter Celebration The Magical WoodsWinter Celebration: The Magical Woods
November 30-December 29, 10:00am-5:00pm (Closed Mondays & Christmas Day)
Fellows Riverside Gardens, 123 McKinley Ave., Youngstown

Come visit a magical land of gnomes and fairy families throughout the Davis Center lobby, and discover other mythical creatures in The Enchanted Hollow. Plus, enjoy the annual holiday tree walk, scavenger hunt, and seasonal flowers.

 

Winter NightsWinter Nights – Fellows Riverside Gardens
Saturdays, November 30; December 7, 14, 21, & 28, 5:00pm-7:00pm
Fellows Riverside Gardens, 123 McKinley Ave., Youngstown

Experience the outdoor light display and the Unicorn Games and crafts. Plus, find that perfect gift at the Shop in the Gardens and savor refreshments available for purchase in the Garden Cafe.

 

Holiday Craft Show & Tuba ChristmasHoliday Craft Show and Tuba Christmas
Sunday, December 1, 11:00am
Stambaugh Auditorium, 1000 Fifth Avenue, Youngstown

Stambaugh Auditorium’s Holiday Craft Show will return as part of the 46th annual Tuba Christmas Concert. The 2:00pm concert features local tuba players joining together to perform a variety of Christmas classics. The Craft Show will feature local artisans and crafters before and after the concert.

 

Santa's Winter BarnSanta’s Winter Barn
Sunday, December 1, 11:00am-2:00pm
MetroParks Farm, 7574 Columbiana-Canfield Rd., Canfield

Santa is getting ready for the big day but has agreed to bring some of his animals from around the world for a visit. Great photo opportunity to sit in Santa’s sleigh and see a reindeer. Event is held in the Barn so dress for the weather.

 

Youngstown Holiday Parade and Tree LightingYoungstown Holiday Parade & Tree Lighting
Friday, December 6, 4:00pm-8:00pm
Central Square, Downtown Youngstown

Festivities begin throughout downtown at 4:00pm. The parade will commence at 6:00pm. The route will begin on E. Federal Street near Champion and will finish on W. Federal Street at Symphony Place. The tree lighting will take place immediately following the parade (approximately 7:30pm), followed by pictures with Santa.

 

Butler Craft Show49th Annual American Holiday Arts & Crafts Show
Saturday, December 7, 10:00am-5:00pm & Sunday, December 8, 10:00am-4:00pm
Butler Institute of American Art, 524 Wick Ave, Youngstown

This juried show features visual artists and craftspeople showcasing the best of their work. Shop for one-of-a-kind holiday gifts in the beautiful surrounds of The Butler.

 

Miracle on Easy StreetMiracle on Easy Street
December 13 & 14, 7:30pm and December 14 & 15, 2:30pm
Powers Auditorium, 260 W. Federal St., Youngstown

Youngstown’s original Christmas Spectacular is back for its 31st consecutive year. Join Easy Street Productions co-founders Maureen Collins and Todd Hancock with over 100 singers, dancers, and little rascals for the annual extravaganza that has become a family holiday tradition in Youngstown!

 

For a full list of holiday events this year, visit our website and follow us on Facebook!

In the final week of our Meet the Roasters blog series, we feature an interview with Josh Langenheim, owner of Stone Fruit Coffee Company, with locations in Boardman, YSU campus, Cornersburg and Columbiana. With many investments in the Youngstown area, Josh can be described as nothing other than Youngstown Proud. Read on to learn more about Josh and Stone Fruit!

 

Hobby Gone Wild

Josh has always been a coffee enthusiast, with mornings spent roasting on his humble 0.5 machine and constantly experimenting with new flavors. But, at what point did his roasting hobby turn into a full-blown career?

Q. Why did you enter the coffee business?

A. This is a hobby that has gone wildly out of control. Before Stone Fruit, I was in marketing and it was a nonstop sort of thing; I was always traveling to North Carolina and everywhere in between. But, on Sundays I had time to myself and would spend a few hours in the morning roasting on my tiny little 0.5 roasting machine (it could only roast 1.1lbs at a time). My company’s Ohio location ended up closing and I decided to start something new by opening Stone Fruit. I was pretty good at marketing and I had a passion for coffee, so I thought why not market coffee?

 

Roasting the Stigmas

In the coffee world, ordering a simple cup of joe can get complicated pretty fast. Listening to someone in front of you order a “venti, half-sweet, non-fat, caramel macchiato with soy milk” can make your head spin. But, at Stone Fruit, visitors don’t have to worry about the coffee lingo or judgment, because over the years Josh and his team have worked hard to remove the negative stigmas surrounding artisan coffee shops by ensuring that everyone is welcome.

Q. What do you think makes Stone Fruit unique?

A. One of the main things we try to focus on is the negative connotations that are wrapped around third wave, artisan coffee. It can be a very pretentious and intimidating situation if you walk into a shop without knowing the difference between a latte and a cappuccino. At Stone Fruit we have removed that stigma. We have uniquely named all of our coffees (ex. “javachino”), putting everyone on equal playing ground. You can’t come in here and act like you know something more than someone else. Ultimately, there are no negative connotations or stigma.

 

Q. Can you describe your typical customer?

A. We get everybody from 14 to 400. Honestly, I think it’s because of the negative stigma that we have removed. We are just creating a nice, special environment where everyone can hang out.

 

Q. How does Stone Fruit contribute to the hospitality of Youngstown?

A. I think that if you put positivity out, positivity will come back. If you look at any of our social media, it is 99% positivity. We want everyone to feel welcome and I think that really improves the hospitality of Youngstown.

 

Even MORE Joe for YO

As we sat down with Josh, our interview was occasionally interrupted by the sounds of hammers and the smell of sawdust. Stone Fruit was a temporary “war zone” (as Josh put it) due to the shop’s latest development.

Q. Do you have any plans for Stone Fruit in the near future?  

A. We are getting a 45 kilo coffee roaster to hopefully support many more Stone Fruit locations. We look to start providing coffee for other local businesses as well. Right now, we are serving coffee at the Springfield Grille and we have been in negotiations with a lot of other high-end restaurants.

Whether old or young, coffee expert or beginner, Stone Fruit welcomes you to any of their locations! Stop in to visit Josh and enjoy a cup of “javachino.” To travel the Joe in the YO Coffee Trail, visit this page for your passport and a list of participating locations. To learn more about places to go and things to see in the Youngstown area, check out the Mahoning County Convention & Visitors Bureau website and follow @YoungstownLive on social media!

Stone Fruit Website: https://stonefruitcoffee.com/
Stone Fruit Insta: @stonefruit_coffee
Stone Fruit Facebook: @Stonefruitcoffee

Welcome back Joe in the YO enthusiasts! This week, Meet the Roasters features an interview with Matt Campbell, owner and roaster extraordinaire at Branch Street Coffee Roasters, located in Boardman. With trips to coffee-growing countries to source the best-available beans, precise weighing methods and latte foam art, Branch Street knows their coffee! But don’t take it from us, see what Matt has to say about his business and experiences.

 

Why the Coffee Business?

When you hear “emergency room” and “coffee” you might not think of many similarities. However, a coworker actually introduced Matt to the artisan coffee world during his career in the medical field. Matt’s background in imaging for oncology and emergency room CAT scans not only introduced him to the coffee industry, but also helps a lot when it comes to operating the roaster and understanding the science behind developing delicious coffee beans.

Q. Why did you enter the coffee business?

A. About 7 or 8 years ago, I was introduced to fresh-roasted coffee while I was working in nuclear medicine. My coworker insisted that I try it and from my first couple sips, I immediately noticed a huge difference from regular coffee, and I fell in love with it.

Q. So you decided to make the change from medicine to being a coffee entrepreneur?

A. Yes. Working in oncology for five years got to be a bit depressing. Coffee was exciting. There was a coffee shop just down the road, and the owners took me on as an apprentice. They taught me about the business end of running a coffee shop, how to roast coffee beans, and the science behind roasting as well.

 

Q. Can you explain your roasting process?

A. We roast two days out of the week, and we roast all of our varieties each time we roast. Each batch takes us between 10-13 minutes, depending on what we’re doing with that coffee. Each coffee has its own unique profile or recipe and we adjust the temperatures and air flows depending on how the coffee likes to be roasted.

Cappuccino with a Splash of Story 

Whether you like your coffee black, sweet or somewhere in between, Branch Street has a flavor (and a story) for you!

Q. What do you think makes Branch Street unique?

A. We try to find relational coffees. We want the coffee to have a story behind it and we really showcase the hard work that goes into it from the producer’s standpoint. We also only roast coffees on the light spectrum, but even dark roast people can find something that they love here because we have full-bodied coffees.

 

Q. What is your most popular drink?

A. Our seasonal lattes and single origin coffees are probably our two best sellers. (We would definitely recommend trying their fall special, the Salted Maple Latte. It has a sweet maple flavor and comes with fantastic foam art on top.)  

        

Beyond Business: Giving Back

Some of the Branch Street staff recently took a trip to Peru to visit several coffee farms and learn more about the source of their beans. Matt shares his Peru experience and some pretty exciting plans for the future.

Q. Can you talk about your trip to Peru?

A. We recently visited five different coffee farms in Peru, where we met with the families who own the farms and observed their harvesting and processing quality. I went down there with great admiration for the work that the growers and producers were doing, but to have them show us how it actually works and to see what they actually have to do to get a cup of coffee on our table is outstanding. The coffee bean farmers in Peru are some of the most honest, humble and hardworking people that I have met. 

One of the things that we focus on at Branch Street is finding a relationship. So, we will be bringing coffee back from three of the farms that we visited in Peru and part of our coffee proceeds will go back to the hands of those farmers. The money will go towards upgrading their facilities and will help them produce better coffee for future years.

If you’re searching for a sustainable, unique and compassionate shop with artisan-crafted coffee, then Branch Street Coffee Roasters is the place for you! Matt’s passion for artisan coffee has brought about ownership of a second coffee shop, Generations Coffee Lab, located in nearby Columbiana, so be sure to check out that location as well! To travel the Joe in the YO Coffee Trail, visit this page for your passport and a list of participating locations. To learn more about places to go and things to see in the Youngstown area, check out the Mahoning County Convention & Visitors Bureau website and follow @YoungstownLive on social media!

Branch Street Coffee Roasters Website: https://branchstreetcoffee.com/
Branch Street Insta: @branchstreetcoffee
Branch Street Twitter: @BranchStreetCR

For those of you that have been traveling the Joe in the YO Coffee Trail – and for those that are just now joining us – welcome to our new blog series called “Meet the Roasters.” Over the next few weeks, we’ll introduce you to the owners of three local coffee shops that actually source their own beans and roast them in-house. We sat down with some of these coffee connoisseurs to get the inside scoop on their backgrounds, their shops and their customers.

This week features an interview with Joe Sylvester, owner of High Octane Coffee, a 1950s service garage-inspired shop located in Canfield. 

 

From Racing to Roasting

While Joe Sylvester might be known for some delicious coffee, he may be better known for his successful racing career. Since 2006, Joe has had a successful career in monster truck competitions and racing, and even secured the Guinness World Record for Longest Monster Truck Jump (237 feet). So, why did Joe transition from racing to owning a coffee shop?

Q. Why did you enter the coffee business?

A. I’ve raced my whole life; I’ve traveled the whole world. And through all the traveling that I’ve done, I’ve had to be awake for crazy hours, with late stays at hotels and waking up in the morning for live interviews. Because of this schedule, coffee became a big part of my daily routine. I would get coffee from anywhere- diners, gas stations- until one day I actually had specialty, artisan-roasted coffee and was mind-blown because it tasted so much better than what I was used to. After this, I developed a stronger passion for coffee and decided that I wanted to start a business that I could grow for the rest of my life.

What Makes High Octane Unique?

From coffee named “Gasoline Alley” to shiny car parts hanging from the walls, High Octane has definitely done a good job at not blending in with the average coffee shop. Despite its racing roots, what else makes High Octane stand out?

Q. How does High Octane stand out from other local coffee shops?

A. I knew that I wanted to offer not just good coffee, but a completely unique experience that gives a different vibe and atmosphere. We host car shows at High Octane, we play rock music on the radio and all of our marketing is a little bit more edgy.

 

Q. Can you explain what your roasting process entails?

A. We roast eight different coffee beans from places like Colombia, El Salvador, Indonesia, Guatemala and Mexico. Our roaster has the capability of roasting 640 pounds per day, but we typically roast 60-200 pounds of coffee beans each week for High Octane.

 

Q. What is your most popular drink? What special items do you offer?

A. Overall, people like iced lattes, everyone seems to have their own flavor that they like. The Buckeye Outlaw is probably our number one seller and one of my favorites. We also make handspun, old diner-style milkshakes.

            

What Fuels High Octane

While it’s no surprise that coffee keeps most YO locals running, we wondered what fuels High Octane. Between their loyal customers and personable baristas, this shop runs on more than just coffee.

Q. Can you describe the people that typically come to High Octane?

A. Guys with grease under their fingernails, those are the kind of guys that like to come here because they’re comfortable here. In general, we have a lot of regulars and locals, but because of my racing career we also get visitors from out of town that want to see High Octane.

 

Q. We believe that coffee is hospitable. How does High Octane and its baristas aid in the hospitality of its community?

A. I don’t stress so much that our baristas’ drinks are perfect. Instead, the biggest thing for us is attitude and the general way that we project ourselves to customers. It’s more important that our baristas have a positive attitude and personality- that’s what gets people to come back.

 

Down the Road

Boardman locals will be happy to hear Joe’s recent focus for High Octane’s future!

Q. What are your plans and goals for High Octane?

A. We’re hoping to have our new Boardman location open by next month. Other than that, I have no desire to own more than one store. I want to have one store as the main, flagship location and then franchise the rest, including the Boardman store.

 

While we did our best to capture the essence of High Octane, you will have to pay Joe and his baristas a visit if you want to truly experience one of the most unique coffee shops in the Youngstown area! To join the Joe in the YO Coffee Trail, visit this page for your passport and a list of participating locations. To learn more about things to do and see in the Youngstown area, check out the Mahoning County Convention & Visitors Bureau website and follow @YoungstownLive on social media!

High Octane Website: https://high-octane-coffee-company.myshopify.com/
High Octane Insta: @highoctanecoffee
High Octane Twitter: @gethighoctane
Joe Sylvester Insta & Twitter: @joesylvester8