By Leigh Ann Rutledge
Mocha and Louis greet customers as they enter the Lil’ Brown Dog Café in Carrollton.
The café opened Jan. 5 at 24 W. Main St., Carrollton, and offers hot and cold beverages, soup and sandwiches and atmosphere with jazz-flavored music floating out of the speakers.
Mocha, a chocolate Labradoodle, and Louis, a Scottie-Corgi mix, are the mascots. They are painted on the café window between the doors. Mocha belongs to Kathy Hagy, café owner, of Canfield, and Louis belongs to Kathy’s daughter, McKenzie, of Carrollton.
“Mocha is always around when I am baking at home. I tease and say the muffins are ‘Mocha’s muffins,” Kathy said. “When Mocha and Louis get together, they are inseparatable.” Thus the café was named Lil’ Brown Dog Café.
McKenzie, a History teacher at Carrollton High School (CHS), suggested a café because there was nothing like this in town, Kathy noted.
The idea came to life around 10 months to one year ago when they started looking for a location, eventually finding the space near the bottom of Public Square.
The shelves, back stock room and restroom are original to the location. Hagy and her family painted and paneled walls, installed new carpet and built the kitchen and counter areas.
The shelves hold a variety of dog and coffee themed block sayings, pictures and figurines, along with a selection of books. Books for adults, tweens and children are located on the shelves. Visitors can “take a book, leave a book” from a selection of romances, mysteries, Chicken Soup stories and Barbie and Princess Diaries, among others. Adult books are on the higher shelves. Children’s books are located on the bottom shelf, making it easy for them to see.
“You can take a book and read it,” Hagy said. “When you finish it, you can bring it back or pass it on and bring a different book back.”
Along with tables, there is a children’s sitting area with denim colored stools and a table, a work station to plug electronics into, featuring a high table built by Hagy’s son, Patrick, and two soft, reclining chairs with end tables.
A few games are available such as checkers and dominos. Wifi is free for the first half hour.
One section of wall will feature art work of students from CHS and Carroll Hills School.
Lil’ Brown Dog Café offers coffee, café latte, café mocha, cappuccino and hot chocolate. Flavor shots include salted caramel, raspberry, Irish Crème, French vanilla, peppermint, brown sugar cinnamon and hazelnut.
Hot tea flavors include lemon ginger, classic mint, wild encounter, jasmine green, sapphire Earl Gray, English Breakfast, Oolong and Darjeeling.
Cold beverages include iced coffee and tea, soda pop, bottled water and strawberry/banana or mixed berry smoothies.
A variety of homemade muffins and cookies are available daily. Blueberry, chocolate chip, strawberry dark chocolate chip, caramel apple, lemon ricotta, banana crumb, peach almond, coffee cake, Mandrin orange pecan, raspberry ricotta, pumpkin spice and espresso chip are a few of the muffin choices.
Sandwiches are made on homemade Betty Kaye Bakery white, wheat or rye bread with meats and cheeses from Butcher’s Block. Hagy plans on purchasing fresh produce at the farmers market during the growing season.
Side dishes include cottage cheese, coleslaw or a daily special, such as broccoli chop or pasta salad. Chef’s salad was recently added to the menu.
The café offers a variety of soups, featuring chili, cream of broccoli, chicken noodle, clam chowder, stuffed pepper and beef barley vegetable. Wednesday’s soup is usually a homemade favorite cream of potato.
Hagy is a self-taught cook and enjoys baking. Her father’s specialties include cheesecakes and Danishes, which Kathy is trying to get for the café.
Along with Hagy, she has two employees who work mornings, two high school students who work after school and four employees who work through the Carroll County Board of Developmental Disabilities’ Community Employment Program. Reva Castellucci serves as the job coach.
Employees prepare drinks and sandwiches, wash dishes and deliver orders to the downtown area and Carrollton schools.
Lil’ Brown Dog Café is open Monday – Friday from 6:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturday from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday is staffed by Hagy and family members.
The café has a “frequent hot drink buyer” special, sells gift certificates and t-shirts. Daily specials include Muffin Monday, Tasteful Tuesday, Warm Up Wednesday, Thirsty Thursday and Free drink Friday. These feature discounts on specific products each day.
They honor various groups on specific days, such as Teacher Appreciation Day, Feb. 23 and Government Employee Day, March 23.
McKenzie is considering gatherings for the community such as game night or story time.
“Anyone who wants to come in have coffee and visit, read or knit is welcome,” Hagy said. “We want to thank the community for welcoming us. We hope to see more of you when the weather breaks.”
Lil’Brown Dog Café can be reached at 330-476-6310. Visit Little Brown Dog Café on Facebook for daily specials.