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peterme’s pedant corner: coffee shop/coffeehouse

I’m a words guy. And as a words guy, I’m easily rattled by verbal misuse. I get that language evolves and all that, but I also respect the power of words to communicate concepts clearly.

Anyway, this morning the SF Chronicle featured the headline “Coffee shop’s name has Standard & Poor’s in a froth.”. The place in question, Standard and Pours Coffee and Stocks, is not a coffee shop, but a coffeehouse.

As Merriam-Webster states, A “coffee shop” is a small restaurant. Typically, a diner-like restaurant, roadside eatery, basic American fare, as these examples attest.

My fight, however, is in vain, as a Google search for “coffee shop” demonstrates the language has shifted towards gourmet coffee, with links to Starbucks, starting your own espresso business, and the like.