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Best Hidden Gem: Topside Coffee Cabin

Writer's Pick: Best of Tacoma 2018

These friends meet every Tuesday morning at the Topside Coffee Cabin in Steilacoom. The mural to the left shows the history of Steilacoom and the Mosquito Fleet. Photo credit: Marguerite Cleveland

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Editor's note: The town of Steilacoom was selected by our readers as Best Hidden Gem. Our writer selected Topside Coffee Cabin as a reflection of the town's vibe.

Topside Coffee Cabin, located in historic, downtown Steilacoom, is my favorite hidden gem. I began coming here before the sun started peeking out again and fell in love with its beach cabin vibe and friendly staff. It is like a ray of sunshine when you come in on a rainy day. What keeps me coming back is the great coffee and welcoming locals. I meet someone new every time I visit. Friends gather for their weekly coffee dates, and community groups meet to plan activities. It is great for people watching as the traffic ebbs and flow throughout the morning. There is always someone drinking coffee.

According to Niki O'Reilly, who owns the place with her husband John, that was exactly what they were going for when they planned the space. "Inspiration for the design came from wanting to bring the town of Steilacoom right into our shop. A quaint, historic town on the shore of the Puget Sound with a little bit of a modern twist. The view from the building is enough to inspire anyone. We are so fortunate to have such an amazing backdrop," she said.

The two also wanted to develop a community space. "We wanted a community table where people could join each other and share a cup of coffee and good conversation. I envisioned it to be a place where people would come in and meet new people. We are such a small community and yet we have new people moving in all the time. It's a great spot to come, socialize, and get to know your neighbors.

The coffee is from Olympic Crest Roasters and homemade baked goods are prepared daily. You can also order Paninis, which are made to order from the Topside Bar & Grill kitchen -- the restaurant set above the coffee shop also owned by the O'Reillys. Throw in free Wi-Fi and you will never want to leave. Now that the weather is nice, you can sit out on the patio with your coffee and enjoy the incredible views this location is known for.

TOPSIDE COFFEE CABIN, 6 a.m.-3 p.m., 215 Wilkes St., Steilacoom, 253.244.7190,

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