On Monday, June 11 the doors of The Coffee Pot Cafe opened to serve as a haven for University of Akron college students. Scott Malensek, the owner of The Stew Pot Kitchen, opened up his new coffee shop in the downtown district of Akron in hopes that the students of the University of Akron will utilize both of his businesses.
New to the restaurant business, Malensek says that he is fairing well.
“There’s a sense of community in a restaurant. I like that. The smiles, the community, that is what I really like, I really love,” Malensek said.
The new coffee shop is connected to the local library in downtown Akron. Malensek is a Cleveland native who now resides in Green, Ohio.
The Coffee Pot Cafe hosts a variety of coffee flavors, but Malensek wants to focus on reaching out to college students.
“You won’t find more affordable food,” Malensek said.
Speaking for both his coffee shop and soup restaurant, Malensek’s initial reasoning behind price slashing was to attract college students.
“The people that need it the most, the students, aren’t coming,” Malensek said.
In lieu of this, he came up with the idea of opening a coffee shop. He believed that since college students are known for bingeing on coffee, this would attract them to his shop and, in turn, would open students’ eyes to The Stew Pot Kitchen.
His other tactics for attracting students to the coffee shop is having game nights. He stated that he had a “Board Game Night” and some students were in attendance.
Malensek also offers students to advertise their work in his restaurant’s dining room. Students and professionals alike have the opportunity to sell their artwork in both shops for free.
“Anyone involved with marketing, photography, sculpting, and music is welcome to bring their stuff,” Malensek said.
He would also encourage students use the dining room of The Stew Pot Kitchen for student organization meetings.
Malensek has been in the restaurant business for five years and facilitated a change in location.
“Owning a business is an incomparable experience to anything else,” Malensek said.
Originally, Malensek intended a much more simple business. He said he wanted to just feed people good food. His first location for The Stew Pot Kitchen was deemed too small after a 14-month stint.
“Until you start your own business you have no idea how much paperwork there is,” Malensek said jokingly.
Malensek has a background in environmental science, but was a stay-at-home dad before opening his soup restaurant.
When he felt his children were old enough to take care of themselves, his wife suggested that they open a restaurant. After a while he caught the eye of Akron developer Tony Troppe.
“He’s been a mentor for the past five years,” Malensek said.
Troppe is the owner of the Uncorked Wine Bar in Akron. In the past few years he has worked to preserve historic buildings in Akron, specifically the Kaiser Building.
As a business owner Malensek offered advice for anyone hoping to own his or her own business one day.
“Have faith in what you do. You have to have faith. Even though today might be a slow day, there’s always the chance that tomorrow will be a faster day,” Malensek said.