A locally-owned coffee shop is essentially a prerequisite for any Michigan town, whether it’s a charming village by the lake or a bustling city near the river. However, the Raven Cafe in Port Huron is not your typical, local coffee shop.
Best described as a community cultural center, the Raven Cafe is a much-loved staple in the Port Huron Community, but it’s quickly becoming famous throughout the entire state for its eclectic vibe and the unforgettable experience it offers each guest.
The Raven Cafe: More Than Just an Homage to Edgar Allen Poe
Named after the famed poet’s most well-known poem, the Raven Cafe is a coffee shop with a literary heart. It is housed in a building that was built in the Civil War era and is known to be one of the oldest historic buildings in Port Huron.
This adds a preternatural appeal to the cafe, which already speaks to an era gone by with its laid-back yet intelligent atmosphere.
About the Raven Cafe in Port Huron
In the early aughts, local Port Huron attorney Gerald Edson was looking for a project that would stir his passions and allow him to give back to the community that he called home.
He found out that a friend had recently inherited a historic building on Military Street — one that had sat vacant for years and appeared as if it had reached the end of its lifespan.
He knew that this was the spot where he wanted to raise a new cultural and literary scene in Port Huron — he envisioned a space where writers, thinkers, and creators could come together for intellectual conversation, engaging discussion, and appreciation for art.
With that in mind, he brought the Raven Cafe to life, and the community has never looked back.
Today, the Raven Cafe is often referred to as a local coffee shop. But truly, it’s so much more than that. Its extensive library looks as if it comes from a collection from an old aristocratic estate.
Worn furniture full of character and history can be found throughout every corner of the shop, inviting personal conversations, romantic whispers, or heated exchanges about the best solutions for the challenges of today.
In addition, it is an art gallery where local artists can display their work and visitors can invest in pieces that they will cherish for a lifetime. There’s a community fundraising bulletin board, where customers can support local causes that they care about if they feel called to do so.
It’s the kind of place that has become a center for community life, and many consider the Raven Cafe to be the spark that ignited the downtown renaissance for Port Huron.
Getting to the Raven Cafe
Finding the Raven Cafe is relatively simple. This coffee shop and cafe can be found just a short walk away from the Black River, on Military Street in downtown Port Huron.
Things to Do at the Raven Cafe
The Raven Cafe is not your average coffee shop in Michigan. Many find that they can easily spend an entire day sipping on coffee, enjoying sandwiches, and browsing the incredible collection of books and art that can be found in every nook and cranny of the shop.
These are some of the most popular things to do at the Raven Cafe:
Grab a Coffee or a Cocktail
Naturally, many of the visitors who head to the Raven Cafe are simply in search of some nourishment. Whether they are fueling up with caffeine or relaxing with a favorite cocktail, they are sure to find what they are looking for on one of the four menus:
The food menu at the Raven Cafe consists mostly of sandwiches and salads, with an emphasis on fresh, local ingredients. The soups and chilis that are served each day are a favorite among local patrons.
Known for its exceptionally high-quality coffee, the Raven Cafe offers a varied beverage menu that appeals to all visitors. There is a full Italian espresso bar menu as well as an extensive selection of teas, including herbal and chai teas.
Cocktails are one of the most recent additions to the Raven Cafe’s menu, but they have quickly become one of the most popular choices. From colorful cocktails mixed with ice cream to frothy brews served straight from the state-of-the-art draft beer system, there’s a drink for anyone who is looking to sip the day away at the cafe.
Recognizing the needs of those with dietary restrictions or preferences, the Raven Cafe offers a gluten-free menu that includes pastries and entrees.
Peruse the Library
The Raven Cafe is not simply a coffeehouse — nor is it really a bookshop. However, it does boast a library that includes a collection of more than 5,000 books. Patrons are invited to borrow books, leave books that they are ready to part with, or simply enjoy a few chapters while they are visiting.
Of course, you will find the works of Edgar Allen Poe in the Raven Cafe, but you also are going to find titles in a variety of other genres, such as science fiction, romance, history, religion, biographies, trivia, satire, and more.
There are even cookbooks on the shelves, as well as a separate section of coffee table books that allow visitors the chance to flip through pages of vivid images, short stories, and more.
Perhaps one of the most innovative features of the Raven Cafe is the Book Lovers shelf — a space where regulars can grab a book from the library, mark their spot, and leave it on the shelf until they return the next time.
All you need to do is purchase a bookmark from one of the mugs in the library for $.25 and mark the date that you began reading the book on the bookmark.
Save your spot when you are done, put it on the shelf, and rest easy knowing that it will be waiting for you upon your return.
All books are left on the Book Lovers shelf for at least 30 days.
Listen to Live Music
On Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays, the Raven Cafe offers live music performances. Local musicians are welcome to grab one of the time slots available and play their favorite tunes for the visitors at the cafe.
Most performances take place between 7 p.m. and 9 p.m., allowing guests to finish their reading before they start listening to music.
Leave a Note on the Coffee Table
Regular Raven patrons started a tradition all their own – writing down secrets and sharing poignant words in journals. Most of the messages are left anonymously, and nearly all of them are inspiring or touching.
One of the most popular ways to share what’s on your heart and mind is to write a note on a napkin and stick it in the drawer of one of the coffee tables in the cafe.
You can leave your words there for someone else to find and walk away, or you can indulge in the secrets, wishes, hopes, and desires of those who have come before you.
Invest in a Local Work of Art
At any given time, more than a dozen artists are able to showcase their work at the Raven Cafe. The art spans various media, including textiles, jewelry, stained glass, painting, drawing, and more.
Whether you are stopping in the cafe for a quick cup of coffee or you intend to spend the day curled up with your favorite book, you might be surprised when you leave with a new, beloved work of art that was handcrafted by a local artist.
FAQs About the Raven Cafe
These are a few of the most frequently asked questions that visitors have about the Raven Cafe in Port Huron.
Where is the Raven Cafe located?
The Raven Cafe is located at 932 Military Street in unit number 1. Situated in a Civil War-era building in downtown Port Huron, the Raven Cafe is relatively easy for visitors to find. It’s a short distance away from the Great Lakes Maritime Center and about a block away from the Black River.
When is the Raven Cafe open?
The Raven Cafe is open daily. During the week, the cafe’s hours are 7:30 a.m. to 9 p.m., while the weekend hours are 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Is the Raven Cafe a family-friendly destination?
Yes, the Raven Cafe is a family-friendly destination that appeals to visitors of all ages. In fact, many school groups take field trips to the Raven Cafe in order to experience its eclectic atmosphere.
Experience the Spirit of Poe and the Passion of Community at the Raven Cafe
Good coffee and excellent books comprise the heart of the Raven Cafe, earning it the reputation of being a destination in its own right. Whether you are planning an entire vacation to Port Huron, or you are looking for a simple day trip in the Great Lakes State, you should make it a point to visit the Raven Cafe as soon as possible.