Throwdown: Muddy Waters vs. Cafe Shiloh

Finding a good hot beverage in Geneseo wasn't always an easy task, but that's no longer the case as two new cafes, Muddy Waters and Café Shiloh, have opened their doors.

Positioned at opposite ends of Main Street, both Muddy Waters and Café Shiloh offer distinct dining choices and atmospheres.

Muddy Waters has ample seating in the form of couches and tables, very conducive to socializing or studying. Café Shiloh mainly has tables, so there is a good amount of space to spread out homework, but only two visible couches for lounging.

The musical ambiance in Muddy Waters alternates between jazz and independent rock, giving it a distinct "coffee house" feel, while Café Shiloh plays songs religious in nature, complementing the décor, which includes wall hangings and book selections.

Both cafés, however, provide very attentive and amiable service. Customers may even receive a "God bless you" upon leaving Café Shiloh.

"The selection at Muddy Waters is tantalizing," said junior Anna Mellace. "The presentation was very good as well, especially the whipped cream on the brownie."

Muddy Waters' prices range a little high, though, especially considering a good percentage of the clientele is composed of college students. The prices at Café Shiloh are far more moderate: they offer goods free of charge and suggest donations. Since Shiloh is a non-profit business staffed by volunteers, they can sell at the price that they pay for the products they offer.

As far as sustainability comes into play, Muddy Waters is definitely a leader. They use metal silverware, ceramic mugs and plates for people who are dining in and paper cups for people on the run. They also offer a great selection of Fair Trade and Organic teas and coffees.

Most other businesses on Main Street do not offer such amenities, and frankly, using cheap white plastic silverware and Styrofoam plates is reminiscent of attending a 6-year-old's birthday party. These other businesses should jump on board: Wouldn't it just be cheaper overall if they purchased reusable plates and silverware that could just be washed? It would also cut down on the amount of waste that they produce in their garbage.

An environmentally-friendly initiative is just what Main Street needs to gain more support from earth-conscious students. Establishments that continue to use Styrofoam and plastic silverware are clearly not taking an active interest in what is going on in the world.

Given Muddy Waters' popularity, students are willing to pay a little more for what they are consuming, if it supports a business that is thinking proactively and responsibly about the role it plays in the local environment. The other businesses on Main Street, should be more proactive in their practices regarding the effect they have on the environment.