The Daily Grind & Wine in Murphy

By Molly Spero, 2016

Delicious black bean burger served at The Daily Grind & Wine.
Delicious black bean burger served at The Daily Grind & Wine.

The excitement was palpable as we pulled into a parking space in front of a coffee shop called The Daily Grind & Wine in downtown Murphy, NC. A four-plus hour car ride from Elon to Murphy had stiffened my legs—and “nature called.” The café was situated in the “Town of Murphy,” which was founded in 1835. Originally founded as Huntington after the first Postmaster Col. H.R.S. Hunter, Murphy gained its current name after Archibald D. Murphey, later dropping the “e” in Murphy. Since 1851, Murphy has been the county seat of Cherokee County. The Cherokee Indian Nation called Cherokee County and the surrounding area home prior to 1839, until they were removed to Oklahoma over the “Trail of Tears,” which follows a pathway out of town.

Located downtown in the historic building, The Daily Grind is nestled among several shops, including a neighboring bookstore and a basement music shop. Since May 2000, the coffee shop considers itself to be “the ‘Cheers’ for locals and visitors alike” and serves espresso, cappuccinos, and lattes. All day customers can choose off the breakfast and lunch menu that offers fresh baked goods, wraps, salads and grilled Panini sandwiches. Hanging chalkboards display the menu on the wall behind the cash register.

I opted for a black bean vegan burger with a whole slew of toppings—lettuce, tomato, mayo, Italian vinaigrette, provolone, and pickles—all on a skinny wheat bun and served with a choice of chips, grapes, or potato salad. Trying to be health conscious, I went with grapes. (This health craze didn’t last long; my diet became progressively saturated in fats, carbs, and sugars throughout the trip.)

The cashier gave me a table tracker, where the number card was displayed upright, inserted between two wine corks. This was a fitting nod to The Daily Grind’s other service: wine. With its Celtic themed wine and beer bar, the coffee shop doubles as the only retail wine shop in downtown Murphy. The bar specializes in regionally crafted brews and prides itself in being “a great place to meet old friends and make new ones.” In a small section beside the bar, a few tall tables were clustered together, inviting people to sit and enjoy their wine. Close by, wine racks lined the surrounding walls, serving as a little shop.

Molly flips through The Daily Grind & Wine scrapbook.
Molly flips through The Daily Grind & Wine scrapbook.

I sat down with my number at a two-seat table with Dani. Sam and Christian occupied the one next to us. The seating area was small and cozy, brightened by the natural light streaming in from the long wall of windows. While I waited on the food, I spotted a photo album resting on a seat. Curious, I opened it to reveal a scrapbook that documented the history of The Daily Grind through pictures and news articles: a flyer announcing its grand opening and promotional free concert, the first menu, pictures of the shop’s original layout, and many more pages.

Although the coffee shop had been around for less than two decades, the history within the scrapbook and the bustling vibe of the small eatery showed just how homey it felt, helping to create the friendly environment of Murphy. I looked around and saw locals and visitors alike enjoying the quaint, comfortable, and chill atmosphere.

My vegan burger arrived shortly in a basket lined with newspaper. The vegan burger, textured with black beans and a combination of breadcrumbs, onions, corn, and other seasonings, was moist and flavorful. The toasted wheat bun was crisp and warm, complementing the burger and all of its condiments.

After the long car ride, The Daily Grind & Wine provided an excellent pick-me-up stop. The atmosphere was cozy and relaxed, making it easy to talk with people, and the menu offered many tasty breakfast and lunch options perfect for a light meal. From my co-travelers, I heard enthusiastic approval of the coffee and appreciation of the local wine collection. If you are looking for a place in Murphy to sit back and relax while eating delicious sandwiches and drinking rich coffee or regional, unique wines, I highly recommend you skip a chain or fast food place and come to The Daily Grind.