Restaurant Reviews: Freedom of Expresso – Franklin Square

Posted: November 9, 2008 by jerkmag in VAULT -- archives
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So reviewing a coffee shop is kind of a cop-out, but humor me for a moment. The funds (and thus, the eating out) haven’t been in great supply lately, and so in my past two posts I’ve had to venture into more affordable territory. Besides, who ever said beer and coffee weren’t part of a complete meal?

Yesterday, after buying my eggs and weekly treats at the CNY Regional Farmer’s Market and then heading around the corner for 45 minutes of necessary-but-aggravating Carousel Mall crowd navigating, I stopped at Freedom of Espresso’s newest digs in Franklin Square.

Opened in April of 2007, the most recent FOE franchise isn’t exactly new. But tucked in the Lofts at Franklin Square building at the corner of Solar and Plum Streets, this café provided a pleasant change of scenery from the usual Saturday study spots. Surrounded in re-vamped industrial buildings and with a view of an urban park across the way, you can pretend you’re somewhere else for an afternoon. Somewhere like Brooklyn, or Prague, or wherever you might be nostalgic for on that particular day. It was my first visit, and I was impressed with its comfortable, clean and modern atmosphere, much like the Fayetteville location offers.


Freedom of Expresso. Photo courtesy of Bill of

The barista remarked at how college students rarely hang out there to study, and really, I’ve no idea why. With a decent selection of their locally-roasted coffees and espresso drinks, cider, tea, hot chocolate, and sweet treats, FOE’s got everything you need in order to put in a good 5 hour paper writing stint. I’m not crazy about their espresso, but at least they brew their regular coffee with the proper strength, unlike our own Library café which frankly makes bitter dishwater of their perfectly good beans.

My only complaint is one that I have with all of the FOE stops: the radio. When I’m at a coffee shop, I don’t want to be listening to the crackly voices of sportscasters or some other inane background noise. I want background sounds with character. I recommend headphones to drown out the clatter. For a rainy Saturday afternoon escape, however, Freedom’s all about a quick jaunt beyond the Hill.

~ Jennifer Ward

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