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Hidden Gems: Sola Coffee, Raleigh, NC.

(Image courtesy of Sola Coffee)

Sola Coffee is home to world-class food, service, and Instagram spots in Raleigh, NC. I first heard of Sola when I stayed at the Umstead Hotel in Cary, NC, in June 2020. Owners, John and Jeanne Luther, were also staying on the property. My dog, Oliver, ran over to say hi. They asked why I was moving, and I told them that I was starting graduate school at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Hussman School of Journalism and Media in the fall. They told me to stop by once I moved in. I did. The rest is history. Currently, I try to stop by twice a month, where the twenty-five-minute drive allows me to escape my microcosm. I had the chance to interview John and Jeanne and asked them more about this hidden gem.

(A picture of me and Oliver in front of the Sola Coffee's Mural I Believe In Raleigh)

1. . What makes Sola Coffee different from other cafes?

We do not see ourselves as coffee or food, but instead as a “people” shop. We exist to love people thru coffee, food and service. We hire staff that love people. We strive each day to prepare excellent coffee and food for the purpose of loving our community.

(Image courtesy of Sola Coffee)

2. How does Sola Coffee incorporate its mission and vision into its product offerings?

From the beginning, we have used the phrase see, taste and experience Sola. We constantly talk about (and strive) to prepare coffee and food that is beautiful to the eye, delicious to the taste within the context of the Sola experience.

(Images courtesy of Sola Coffee)

3. How did Sola Cofee evolve during the COVID-19 pandemic?

During Covid, we emphasized the importance of efficient service through out Sola. Since we were not able to interact with our community over the bar and beside their tables, we encouraged our staff to take advantage of every little interaction at the door or at curbside. We fine tuned every aspect of our system; specific and concise words over the phone, speed in preparation, constant conversation and teamwork among the staff, hustle to move order from the bar to curbside. It is a joy to now be able to step back from masks and see people face to face.

(Image courtesy of Sola Coffee)

4. What are some quintessential Sola Coffee drinks and foods?

Our toast bar is seasonal and especially beautiful as spring and summer brings strawberries, blueberry and water melon. Acai bowls are seasonal as well. Dirty Horchata (all seasonal drinks), Heirloom Tomato Sandwich (early July). Protein Bowl is our biggest “salad” seller. Sola Turkey is our signature sandwich and most popular (except when Heirloom Tomato is "in town."

(Images courtesy of Sola Coffee)

5. What is the future of the company?

Keep loving one another and our community with delicious, beautiful coffee, food and service.

(Image courtesy of Sola Coffee. Image depicts owners John and Jeanne Luther)

Thank you for a great interview, John and Jeanne! I look forward to running The 8th Annual Sola Hot Mini 5K this September. This 5k raises money to find a cure for ALS.


Me on my first day of graduate school

Rachel Huss

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