When coffeehouses first appeared in England, they were a gathering place for some of the greatest minds of the Enlightenment. Artists and thinkers came together to discuss, debate and work – all over a cup of coffee.
Now, a new coffeehouse hopes to take up that mantle for Lebanon: Ancestor Coffeehouse & Creperie.
Located at North Cornwall Commons, Ancestor is slated for a grand opening May 25.
Owner/proprietor Ryan Stammel graduated from Shippensburg University in 2017 with a degree in English. There, he learned about 18th Century English coffeehouse culture, which inspired elements of Ancestor.
“We wanted to tap into that original coffeehouse in spirit and build on that as well to put ourselves in the ancestry of coffee,” said Stammel.
Rather than emulating the decor of these coffeehouses, which tended to be fairly simple, Ancestor’s interior is meant to more closely resemble early American taverns. Brick walls and lanterns contribute to this theme.
“We’re trying to have an interior that communicates that history a little bit more in spirit than in accuracy to the year,” said Stammel.
Stammel’s sister, Allyson, runs Sonder Coffee Company, which will supply Ancestor’s coffee. His father, Rick, is his co-owner and partner.
In addition, his wife, Emily, is baking for Ancestor and assisted with the development of recipes.
“Anytime that I need help establishing this place, [my family is] all there, all looking to help however they can, all volunteering and adding their own strengths,” said Stammel.
Though the menu prices are not yet finalized, customers can expect drinks that potentially cost between $3.00 or $4.00 depending on size.
11 different crepes will be served, costing an average of $8.00 for savory crepes and $6.20 for sweet crepes. These prices are subject to change as well.
“My whole family loves crepes and we’re really interested in bringing that new kind of food to Lebanon, which doesn’t really have anything like that right now,” said Stammel.
North Cornwall Commons is a 148-acre multi-use development located near the intersection of Cornwall Road and Rocherty Road.
Already the site of a couple dozen townhouses and Ancestor, it will eventually house a 100-room hotel, retail locations, office buildings and more.
The property is close to Cedar Crest High School and is within 10 miles of the Pennsylvania Turnpike.
“We were aware that this building was going up and we thought it would be a really good opportunity,” said Stammel.
Stammel grew up near Mount Gretna and attended Cedar Crest High School. He hopes to contribute to his hometown through Ancestor.
“Even just driving from one side of Lebanon to the other, it’s almost impossible to not see someone on the side of the street waving to someone in a car,” said Stammel. “Everyone knows each other, everyone enjoys each other’s company, and I love that.”
“I love being a part of that and I want to be able to provide some culture and build up the Lebanon I’ve come to love, I want to be a part of it.”
Update: This article was updated to acknowledge that the prices as listed are not yet finalized.