We love our regulars – we consider them some of the city’s finest citizens. In this column, we meet and greet with the folks who make HubBub part of their daily routine. Interested in being profiled? Email emily dot kovach at hubbubcoffee.com. Kim N. is a coffee lover: from Rome to California to the suburbs of Philadelphia, she and her husband John seek out cafes where the coffee is strong and the social scene is hopping. Kim is a professor at Villanova University where she teaches art history; John teaches there as well, in the philosophy department. Kim can often be found camping out at a table in the HubBub Radnor shop, sipping a latte and grading papers.
Kim is from outside of Pittsburgh; she and John met at Duquesne University. She finished her undergraduate degree at the University of Pittsburgh, after which she was accepted to grad school at UC Berkeley. She and John moved out to California together. It was the mid-80's, and they both enjoyed the cultural vibe of the community, especially the cafe culture. "Berkeley has always been a coffee place, long before Starbucks opened in Seattle," Kim says. She and John frequented two places in Berkeley most often: Café Roma and The Mediterranean. "The Med had been there on Telegraph Avenue forever, through the drug years, the hippies, the protests," Kim remembers. "They had a huge espresso machine that we’d never seen before or since then, and these fabulous hot Italian guys who made the best cappuccinos and lattes!"
While Kim was working on her dissertation, John landed a two year position at Villanova University and they moved back east. After finishing her PhD at Bryn Mawr College, Kim also got a job teaching there. "That was '88 or '89," she says, "and I never left!" Currently, Kim teaches a popular History of Photography class, and a 20th century art class which looks at the collaboration between Jean-Michele Basquiat and Andy Warhol as well as other works of modern art. She likes to use videos from PBS' excellent program Art21 to explain to her students that modern and abstract artists actually do use specific techniques, and have equal skill and talent as artists who paint or draw in more realistic styles.
Kim enjoys seeing art in museums and says that many of her and John's travels center around visiting specific exhibitions or certain museums. Last fall, they went to Rome - their 4th trip there! "We think we were in Rome in our past life, we feel so at home there," she says. Art highlights on their last trip included seeing the cleaned Sistine Chapel and a good number of paintings by Caravaggio. When it comes to coffee in Rome, Kim says there are two cafes that she tries to visit: Tazza D'Oro, which is famous and always crowded, and Sant'Eustachio. "Sant'Eustachio makes a cappuccino that...the foam is like meringue," she reports. "Where the guys are making the coffee, there’s a little door blocking the counter so you can’t see what they’re doing when they’re making it. There’s speculation that they’re adding some thickener to get that foam!"
Kim and John began frequenting HubBub Radnor a few weeks after we opened last year. "I tried the coffee and was like thank you,” she says. "We like the décor, and how conducive it is to working, and we love the baristas. The coffee is good and I love the new addition of the soup - it’s amazing!"
That kind feedback means so much to us, especially from a world traveling coffee drinker! Thanks so much to Kim for sharing her story with us and for being such a great regular!
Basquiat photo by Felipe Nuno
Sant'Eustachio photo by Michiel Jelijs