Staghorn Cafe is the Hub of Greenfield

Staghorn Garden Café offers coffee, local poetry and the communal spirit of Greenfield. Shop from more than 40 local businesses inside.

by Jessa Gibboney
March 6, 2020

Each day Staghorn Home & Garden Café  posts a sign in their window – “Come In We’re Awesome.”

The “we” includes more than the owners, Mark and Kate Morris, the Shop Manager, Christine Tinari, and their staff. Staghorn reflects the personality of Greenfield, its unified past and the transitional present.

A Community Coffee Shop and More

The shop is cozy, sincere and convivial. You can grab innovative lattes and savory eats (the local honey latte and savory scone sandwich with the veggie pattie comes highly recommended), shop everything from plants to Kate’s custom Pgh Mom Studio products to greeting cards, share a table and the day’s news with a fellow patron or all of the above. The last Saturday of every month you can listen to local poets reading their original work during the Staghorn Poetry Series.

“We are what you come in for,” said Mark. “If you come in for coffee, we are a coffee shop. If you come in for gifts, we are a gift shop. If you come in for food, we are a café restaurant.” While some believe not committing to a niche translates into inconsistent business, Mark and Kate believe their various offerings create an authentic, unpretentious space.

“Our personalities come out in the shop,” said Kate. “In terms of Mark and I, we’ve never really fit into a peg. We have many facets to our personality that fit into a multitude of categories.”

The various branches of Mark and Kate’s personality – their commitment to sustainable, local products, their love of design and intimate aesthetic, their dedication to family (both the shop and their own family, they have two sons, Sam and Ben) pours out in their 700 square foot cafe. It is why Staghorn appeals to the wealth of generations residing in Greenfield; from those who remember Staghorn as a general drug store to young families purchasing their first homes to renting college students.

Get to Know the Regulars

“They [Kate and Mark] make themselves blend in,” said Jeff Folino, an editor and writer who was born in Greenfield, and a great storyteller of the area. Jeff starts his day with a small black coffee in the shop. “They didn’t do anything that would try to say, ‘This is the way it is. This is the way we’re doing it.’ They absorbed the culture and went from there.”

Familiar faces are common in Staghorn, like Jerry Helbling, who moved to Greenfield in 1953 and now in 2020 finds himself walking to Staghorn for coffee every morning before taking the bus downtown. “Oh, everybody knows who I am,” Helbling said with a gracious nod.

“No matter how bad of a day I am having,” Mark added, “I will have an interaction with someone, and it will make it all worthwhile.”

staghorn garden cafe

In addition to regulars, new connections are nurtured and encouraged. “It’s like someone sprinkled fairy dust in the neighborhood and all the sudden people started talking to each other,” said Nancy Downes, owner of Edits International and unofficial florist for Staghorn.

During the summer months, Nancy brings wildflowers into the shop for the staff or a customer who may need a boost. I was that customer one afternoon.

I was writing, the music from my headphones blaring in my ears, my eyes glued to the screen. Nancy sensed the tension in my hunched posture and handed me a paper cup overflowing with wildflowers. “For you,” she said, “and Louise.” Louise is my daughter, and as a new millennial mother trying to juggle freelance and parenthood, it was exactly the kind act I needed that day.

“Generational split may still be here,” continued Nancy about the wide range of generations now housed in Greenfield, “but the conversations are happening.”

“This is one big space,” said Mark. “At some point, there is going to be enough people who are comfortable in here that it just turns into one big conversation, and someone happens to be in the middle of it.”

Kate and Mark found Greenfield by chance. Friends of friends suggested the neighborhood at a dinner party when Kate and Mark mentioned house hunting. Greenfield was accessible and affable. They bought the first house they saw.

On Friday, December 17th, 2014, Staghorn Home & Garden Café opened its doors. “Most of the furniture when we first opened was from our house,” said Kate laughing. “We had no furniture at home. It [the shop] was literally our house.”

A decorative staple that didn’t originate from their home is the large Stag head mounted in the front of the shop. It was gifted to Kate and Mark from the Carnegie Museum of Natural History archives through Norm, a paleontologist, Greenfield resident and frequent patron of Staghorn.

Staghorn Garden Cafe

“People will say thank you, thank you for opening this place,” said Kate.

“We are hardworking, honest people who serve a good product,” said Mark. “When it’s nice on a Saturday or Sunday when this place is popping, we all are making it happen,” said Mark. “Us as a crew are making it happen. The customers make it happen.” And that, is awesome.

Know Before You Go: Staghorn Garden Cafe

Staghorn Garden Cafe
Getting there
517 Greenfield Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15207, USA
More Info

Jessa is a writer and poet, but above all, a storyteller. Her blog houses poetry and essays on sustainable style, freelance and motherhood. Through her writing endeavors, she has worked with local and global brands such as Carnegie Museum of Art, TRYP Pittsburgh | Lawrenceville, Pittsburgh Opera, Cartier, Earth Brands and George Dickel Tennessee Whisky. Jessa lives in Pittsburgh with her husband, Ben, daughter, Louise and their pup, Opal. She wears the same rings every day, believes anything secondhand has a good story to tell and likes her whiskey straight up.

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