Coffee shop serves up hospitality by the mug

Tina Bird perks up most mornings for South Routt

Danie Harrelson

— Kellen Garrity may be young, but she knows what she wants in a cinnamon roll.

The 4-year-old walked through the doorway of the local coffee shop Friday morning and proceeded to inspect half a dozen rolls displayed behind the glass counter.

It didn’t take long for her to pinpoint the perfect cinnamon roll.

“I want the one with the most frosting,” she said, pressing her index finger against the glass.

Kellen Garrity often accompanies her mother, Clay Garrity, to The Mugshot for her favorite treat.

Tina Bird opened the Oak Creek coffee shop on Memorial Day weekend last year.

A number of coffee shops already saturated the Steamboat Springs market, Bird said, so she took her idea south to Oak Creek.

With the exception of a few gas stations and cafes that offer customers caffeine by the cup, The Mugshot is South Routt’s only coffee shop.

Bird immediately filled a niche with her offerings of lattes, pastries and muffins.

A steady stream of people stops by for a morning cup of coffee, and Bird knows most of them by name.

“It’s on a name basis,” Bird said. “I know what they like, and I can give everyone good customer service and chat with them.”

Bird uses a tab system for many of her regular customers. Some prepay for a certain number of coffees, and others give her the money when they are able, she added.

The Mugshot opens at 6:30 a.m. Tuesday through Friday and 7:30 a.m. Saturday to accommodate South Routt residents who make early morning commutes to their jobs in Steamboat Springs.

Bird usually arrives at her shop on Main Street at 5:30 a.m. to begin baking, but customers may show up as early as 6:15 a.m. to fill their thermoses on their way out of town, she said.

“I wanted to provide a place so people could get good coffee and maybe some breakfast before they left for Steamboat,” she said.

Bird bakes everything that she sells at The Mugshot.

When she first considered opening her own coffee shop, she said, she took into consideration her background in nutrition and her fondness for baking.

She and her friend, Jane Reece, spent a day experimenting with different recipes to determine which baked goods should be standard fare at The Mugshot.

“We found some good recipes and just tweaked them a little,” Bird said.

Reece works one day a week at The Mugshot and uses Bird’s facilities to design and bake cakes for special occasions.

Reece’s penchant and talent at baking have been incredible assets to her new business, Bird said.

Mary Radebaugh, who came by Friday to pour herself a cup of coffee, said she relies on Bird’s selection of cakes and pies for gatherings and parties.

The Mugshot offers special orders on all baked goods for any occasion.

“She has not only the best coffee in South Routt, but in Steamboat,” Radebaugh said.

The size of Bird’s kitchen limits the number of supplies she can keep on hand on any given day.

It’s a circumstance that forces her to use come creativity in her baking, she said.

“I take what I have and make the most of it,” Bird said.

She took advantage of that creativity as she mulled over names for her coffee shop.

She wanted a fresh name for her business, she said, and toyed with several ideas before settling on “The Mugshot.”

“It seemed appropriate for the town,” Bird said.

The Mugshot closes at noon on business days, but Bird said she would like to eventually keep her doors open longer.

She mans the shop by herself on most days. The relaxed and cozy atmosphere allows her to give each customer individual attention and engage in real conversation with them, she said.

It’s an atmosphere that keeps people like Russell and Clay Garrity and their daughter, Kellen, coming back for more.

Her father comes every day for coffee, Kellen Garrity said.

The Garrity family’s coffeemaker at home broke a while ago, but they said they aren’t in a hurry to fix it.

The Mugshot, for now, provides a temporary solution.

“We can get coffee here almost every day,” Clay Garrity said.

“The only day we need a coffeemaker is Sunday.”

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