My first meal at Outdated was the Spicy Egg Sandwich. If I were to commit a despicable Victorian crime and be sentenced to a torturous death — my last meal on earth would be a Spicy Egg Sandwich.
The ready-made coffee is French pressed. The cappuccinos are, as my snobby San Francisco friend says, “delightful.” All the food is painstakingly produced from scratch. The baked items are impossible to resist. If you look up from the menu, you’ll notice that the antiques are finely curated and reasonably affordable. I once thought of purchasing their vintage stuffed coyote to hang over my bed but then realized what it would really mean to wake up every morning, gripped with terror.
Despite the deliciousness, my first visit was accompanied with a sideways squint. Since it is indeed both a cafe and an antique store, this slightly blackened and suspicious heart skipped a balky beat.
There may be distinct strains of tea rose or patchouli wafting through the air. A temporarily orphaned child could pop out from under a weathered farm table and call you “mommy.” If you are impatient and the place is packed, your order might seem like it’s never going to make it to your mouth. And to the cynical outsider, Outdated may seem like it’s trying too hard.
These are the errant and erroneous thoughts of a once-jaded New Yorker. A nominal misfit who used to dwell in the underbelly of the music industry, devoured by venomous labels and management. A kindly nut job roaming the country yodeling songs, wildly wielding a Driving Stick® at all the unfit motorists clogging the highways. (Driving Stick — defined: a two- to three-foot-long metal or wooden baton, brandished overhead in order to settle vehicular disputes.)
Be patient (I say every time I turn the ignition, every time I post a package, every time I breathe). Outdated delivers, and further, it far eclipses itself.
Because Outdated isn’t only where people come to pump caffeine into their bloodstream, propping laptops next to mixed greens, lost in cyber-daydreams. More than the murmurs, laughter, shuffling chairs and scuffling shoes, Outdated is the unofficial meeting house of Kingston.
Because while they come here to browse, they also come here to close their computers. They come here to meet friends and make new acquaintances. To lean over and whisper, “Who really smashed the window at Tech Smiths?” They come here to be connected. They come here to be a part of a community.
It’s true for both the passersby and the longterm residents. There’s a palpable sense of belonging here. Impatience and cynicism have no place at the table because the setting is genuine, the place is real. There really isn’t anywhere quite like Outdated.
All of this is a revelation to my reawakened heart as the holidays descend upon the world. It feels good to be closing my computer on these words and grabbing a coffee in the place that finally feels like home.