As its name suggests, Stone Roastery is all about coffee. It’s roasted here, using Arabica beans to create brews of every kind: dark, sweet, nitro-dedicated, blonde and brunette espresso (plus, of course, decaf). The beans are ground and customers choose how they like their coffee created: brewed or pourover.
Dark-roast is an elegant brew, at once strong and refined. Nitro is silk-smooth, going down more like an energy drink than a cup of Joe. Espresso is dark, smooth, syrupy and not the least bit bitter — magnificent when used as the base for an affogato, i.e. dolloped with a scoop of velvety vanilla from Aiken Ice Cream.
Interesting coffee is half the story. The other half is cakes made by roaster Brad Stone’s mom and by his wife. They are some of the best in an area where excellent cakes abound. They’re great not because they are show-offy or outlandish. They aren’t crazy-large or dramatically inventive. But they are beautiful in their own way, beautiful because they are Platonic ideals: simple 3-layer cakes or pound cakes or apple spice cake, each a model example of what it ought to be.
Strawberry cake is genuinely fruity, laced with sweet berries. Pound cake could not be more buttery and luxurious. A basic yellow cake with thick chocolate frosting is simply unimprovable: soft and fresh, its frosting richly chocolaty, applied in abundance on top, sides, and between the layers. Coffee cake — rich and eggy and so supple that you almost want to call it juicy — puts all supermarket brands to shame. When Brad’s mom makes coconut cake, I sing hallelujah. It is an ethereal cake, unbelievably fluffy, yet so, so rich. On top and between layers is real, old-fashioned boiled frosting.
Located in a spacious building that used to house a dry cleaner, Stone Roastery is an intriguing cultural mix: urban-hip in its beverage selection, country-pure in its pastries, deep Dixie in its decor, which includes a model of the General Lee (the Dukes of Hazzard car) as well as reminders of important bible verses and odes to firefighters and the police. It’s the kind of place Roadfood loves to find: one-of-a-kind with a big personality. And delicious.