Restaurant Review: Back to the Grind
Back to the Grind, an independent coffeehouse located eight minutes (five miles) from California Baptist University in the Mission district, is the perfect spot to catch up with friends, do homework or just hang out.
Open 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. on weekdays and 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. on weekends, not only can you stop in for a coffee, but if you are lucky, you will also catch an event, too. On Wednesdays from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., you can join in on Musician’s Open Mic karaoke, and on the first Tuesday night of the month starting at 7 p.m., you can join in on the Science Talks hosted by SciComm@UCR. Other events at Back to the Grind vary, but to keep you up to date, they have a current monthly calendar on their website back2thegrind.com or on their Instagram @backtothegrind.
If you have an event you want to host, all you have to do is fill out a request form on the website 30 days in advance requesting a time slot, making it easy and accessible for everyone.
However, if events are not your reason for stopping by, let Back to the Grind entice you with the atmosphere. With New York-loft style architecture setting the interior of Back to the Grind apart from other nearby coffee shops, the high ceilings, brick-walled coffee bar and green wallpaper-lined bookshelves make every customer feel as though they are entering a cozy home. The ceiling is gold, with hanging objects such as disco balls, lanterns and plants adding an artistic touch to the overall look. The decorations are not the only thing that vary, however, as the seating does too.
Near the entrance, there are couches and tables for those looking for a more comfortable spot, short ledges against the walls for those who need outlets and table tops with stools for groups of friends to gather around. Posters of current events around Riverside are hung on the walls, and large book cases filled with various books give the space a comforting feel. Music is always playing in the background, and it is usually classic instrumentals, allowing you to focus on your work.
Most importantly, Back to the Grind is first and foremost a coffee shop. Founded in 1996, Back to the Grind brought Riverside the first community coffee shop ‘that was an alternative to the old coffee gathering places of the past’, accordingto the shop’s Facebook page.
Back to the Grind is meant to be a place that can be used for so much more than just getting coffee — it is also a place for karaoke, events, studying and more. Back to the Grind offers beverages ranging from coffee to tea to smoothies. The teas are brewed in house with the selection of exotic teas and different flavorings you can add, such as peach, strawberry and mango. My personal favorite to order is the peach green iced tea, as the tea is strong and fresh and the additional peach flavoring adds just the right amount of sweetness.
Back to the grind is meant to be used as a place for so much more than just getting coffee.
The coffees range from dark blends to light blends, flavored coffees, espressos, decaf and velvet roasts. The aroma of these coffees will persuade you to try one to push through a study session. Smoothies can be made to order with personalized flavors or you can choose per-selected mixed flavors from the menu. For an extra $1.50, you can add protein powder too.
The food menu is just as extensive, and including vegan options allows Back to the Grind to cater to a larger customer base. The hummus and pita are the perfect snack, but if you need a pick-up, I highly recommend the walnut brownie. Back to the Grind offers sandwiches, ice cream, desserts, fruit tarts, croissants and more. The wide variety of options allows customers to try something new every time they come in, even if they are regulars like me.
Of course, if the food, beverages, atmosphere and events still are not enough, you can take home merchandise too. They offer several selections of merchandise inside the store, such as cute sweatshirts and T-shirts, so make sure to browse through the racks if you stop by.