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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Epic Cafe

    Savannah Douglas
    Savannah Douglas / The Daily Wildcat Jamie Moloksky, a general studies sophomore, brings her boyfriend Connor Altizer, a visitor from Maryland, to Epic Cafe for a cup of coffee on Tuesday. Moloksky visits Epic Cafe around three times a week.

    Epic Cafe is the kind of place that used to be really popular five years ago but has since been eclipsed and forgotten, which makes it incredibly fertile ground for a certain kind of hipster.

    Despite its prime location at the intersection of University Boulevard and Fourth Avenue, students largely ignore Epic. On a recent weekday morning, five of the nine patrons were over 40, including a man in a cowboy hat and salt-and-pepper beard reading the newspaper while Johnny Cash played on the loudspeaker. So vintage.

    The coffee is nothing to write home about, and the food is hit-or-miss. On this visit, the soup of the day is spinach garbonzo, watery and bland, but Epic’s breakfast burritos and baked goods have been satisfying late-night cravings for years; it only closes between midnight and 6 a.m. every day, making it a good spot to settle in for longer homework projects. The large, empty space lends itself to club and study group meetings.

    But, this is actually Epic’s appeal. It serves some home-cooked food with some shitty coffee in a hilariously grimy and eclectic atmosphere — green walls, an old-fashioned counter display, ratty canoe-and-bear-patterned couches, knickknacks and wall art that follow no apparent theme; potted plants and chipped coffee mugs. (Mine has a beagle on it.) It’s a mix between your grandmother’s house and your first post-college crash pad, and by all accounts, it’s comforting.

    For all the awful coffee and cheap decor, though, it would seem logical for the merchandise to at least be cheap, too. It isn’t. A small coffee is $1.75, and a single shot of espresso is $1.80 — which seems to be the central paradox of hipster culture. The worse a thing is, the cooler and more expensive it becomes, especially if it’s done on purpose.

    Ultimately, though, Epic Cafe might not be doing it on purpose. It seems, perhaps, too genuinely unaffected and too truly unpretentious to hold onto any hipster cred. A hipster has to at least have some reason to care.

    Still, the bald guy in the corner doing a crossword and eating apple crumble earns Epic at least two hipsters. He’s pretty cool.


    Jacquelyn Oesterblad is opinions editor. Follow her on Twitter.

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