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May 24, 2007 02:04 PM

Verna's, still the same? (or perhaps not)

OK, so I went to Verna’s for a cup of coffee this week. I have been there for coffee many, many times over the years, and occasionally also get a donut . They have a sign out on the sidewalk “Verna’s – Still here”. I took that as a good omen. From there it didn’t get any better. There was clearly some renovation going on with a hand printed poster introducing a new expanded line of pastries. I think the line of pastries were predicted when the new ownership was announced. No problem, maybe a good thing. What struck me first was that there was no sign of those wonderful, cheerful ladies that I used to see every time I went in. The two young people behind the counter were polite and patiently informed me that they no longer serve iced coffee or flavored coffee. I know they never served flavored iced coffee, but I can remember people getting a little flavored coffee in their iced coffee to add a little interest. So I got hot coffee. No big deal. Ordered a chocolate frosted donut. Walked out.
My question is: Does anyone out there know if those wonderful ladies still work there? These two young people seemed to be about high school age. I have no information to make me think so, but if the new owner is a high school culinary arts instructor, I am wondering if these kids are fulfilling an internship by working there. And that would be great if they are learning the art of keeping your customers happy from the Verna’s ladies who were IMHO most of the charm of the place and arguably much of the reason there was such interest in keeping Verna's open. If anyone has seen the old staff there, please post. The coffee was good, consistent with Verna’s long-term standards. The donut was OK, ate about half of it. Maybe next time I’ll go to Linda’s.

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  1. The time I went on a Saturday afternoon, there were a couple of older women behind the counter. Very nice, chatty, friendly folks. No idea if these are the two women you mean, but they seemed to have been associated with the place for a while.

    Great donuts, too. I didn't get coffee then.

    1. For me Verna's is about the donuts, and the donuts have not changed a bit. Still as good as ever. I did like the old gals who ran the place before, they were great. But again, for me Verna's is about the donuts!

      1. I've found all the people working there to be very nice. And the doughnuts mostly seem to be the same, though I had a very underdone chocolate.

        I would warn people away from trying their macaroons, though. I had some the other day and they were ghastly. Barely coconut-y, and they were overly sweet and oily. It was like eating wads of frosting that someone had tried to bake, only sweeter and greasier. Ugh. I don't think I'll venture away from the doughnuts ever again...

        1. Who doesn't serve iced coffee in these parts, esp. at this time of year? I think that's odd.
          Sounds like it's the same crew working but it was only younger girls when I went a year or so ago.

          4 Replies
          1. re: Joanie

            Yes, I also think it’s odd that they don’t serve iced coffee, especially in late spring. It’s good to know that the veteran crew has been seen there, and I wasn’t thinking about anyone in particular. It was their collective cheerfulness and comfort with the routine that has always been part of the ambiance. Walking into Verna’s, you could always find good coffee, good donuts, friendly people waiting on you (yes, some of them young) and a group of regulars sitting at the tables. For sure the coffee and donuts are still good, and there is nothing wrong with the service. I plan to stop in sometime soon to see if they’ve reconsidered the iced coffee. Thanks for the responses.

            1. re: Boatrocker

              A lot of places don't serve iced drinks because ice machines are expensive and ice isn't profitable.

              1. re: Steve L

                I'd bet that the # of places serving coffee in the Boston area that don't serve iced is pretty small.

                1. re: Joanie

                  Joanie, I think it depends on whether they need an ice machine in the greater scheme of things. If I had a small independant coffee and doughnut place with a Dunks and a Starbucks on every other corner beating my brains out, I probably wouldn't invest in the expense,energy costs, maintainance, and square footage of an ice machine to sell iced coffee 3 months out of the year . I've worked in several sucessful operations that didn't have ice and those were the reasons.

          2. Hi Boatrocker, there is some of the old crew left at Vernas not many . After working there 9 yrs , i left in March. I had so much fun with the customers ,they were gr888 . Don`t miss getting up at 4am lol

            2 Replies
              1. re: NCPatty

                NCPatty, sorry to hear that so much of the old "crew" is gone. You can see that you are missed. Enjoy your rest!