Hookah bar draws diverse crowd

Before two burglaries within 10 days put Intatto Coffee & Tobacco Co. in the news, some local residents may not have known about the Pioneer Street shop that offers an unusual kind of social experience — smoking parties with hookahs.

"We've never done hookahs before," owner Douglas Terrill said. "That was my daughter's idea."

He said he expected the Middle Eastern water pipes used for smoking flavored tobacco to be popular with the twentysomething crowd, but adults of all ages have been showing an interest.

"It's such a social thing," he said.

Terrill's daughter, Kelsey, 22, and son, Mason, 18, regularly work in the shop with Douglas and his wife, Leslie.

The hookah crowd usually hangs out on the patio from 9 p.m. to after midnight. Groups can rent a hookah and smoke it together using one of the flavored tobaccos available at the shop, including mint chocolate, blackberry, sweet grape and triple apple. Smokers must have identification proving they're at least 18. The shop also sells hookahs, along with a selection of imported cigarettes and premium cigars.

Unfortunately, the unusual tobacco products have drawn the attention of thieves in recent weeks. Sometime early last week, someone kicked in the back door to the shop and took cigars and imported cigarettes. On June 27, someone forced open a window and took two glass hookah pipes and all of the store's American Spirit brand cigarettes.

Ashland police believe the two burglaries likely are related and said the investigation is continuing.

Though the Terrills were shaken up by the burglaries, they said they remain resolved to continue their business, which they opened in late March at 163 N. Pioneer St.

Kelsey helped come up with the name Intatto, which means intact or unbroken. Douglas said the name fits with the sense of wholeness he finds in the shop's coffee, which is all organic fair trade.

The shop offers a range of coffees and a small menu of sandwiches, soups, salads and breakfast.

But the early morning coffee fanatics are not the main target of the shop, which doesn't open until 9 a.m.

Business starts picking up with the late breakfast and lunch crowd. Douglas Terrill roasts all the coffee himself, and says the secret to making really good coffee is brewing it within a day or so of roasting. The shop also sells fresh roasted coffee in one-pound or five-pound bags. He's also proud of the quality of sandwiches.

"We've perfected the Reuben," he said, noting that the shop uses as many local ingredients in its food as he can get his hands on.

The Terrills have had a lot of time to perfect their Reuben, along with most other aspects of running a coffee shop.

"We've been in the coffee industry for 20 years and this is our sixth shop," Leslie Terrill said.

The Terrills owned three shops in Portland at one time, but in 2002 they sold all their businesses and property there and moved to Hawaii — where they opened up another coffee shop for just more than three years. The pattern repeated in Scottsdale, Ariz., but then business slowed significantly.

"The economy tanked and we put everything in storage," she said.

The Terrills had visited Ashland often over the years, and found it to be a welcoming community, with strong biking and walking traditions and an appreciation of organic fair trade coffee.

"We wanted to come back to Oregon," Leslie Kelsey said. "We love it so much and we have family in Oregon."

They ended up on Pioneer Street, just a block and a half from the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in a small craftsman style house zoned for commercial use. Walking around Ashland one day, the Terrills came across a for-sale-by-owner sign within easy walking distance of downtown and OSF. They immediately checked the lot with the county and bought it about a year ago.

"It was just the perfect location," Leslie Terrill said. "It was hard to find and we had our struggles, but we're open now."

While the downtown location is good, the shop is firmly planted in a residential neighborhood, which Douglas Terrill appreciates.

"Of course we like the tourists, but mainly we want to cater to locals," he said.

Intatto Coffee is open 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesdays and Wednesdays, and 9 a.m. to 1 a.m. Thursdays through Saturdays. For information, call 541-488-6615 or see the Web site intattocoffee.com.

Myles Murphy is an editor and reporter with the Daily Tidings. Reach him at mmurphy@dailytidings.com.

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