Horse people in Aiken have a new place get their coffee. Ridgecrest Coffee Bar at the corner of Wagener Road (302) and Pine Log Road on the East side of town opened the day after Christmas and is already popular with the equestrian crowd. It’s not just coffee, either. You can have breakfast and lunch as well as smoothies and espresso drinks. For horse people, convenience is key, and the location and set-up couldn’t be much better. It’s a great place to stop between downtown and the 302 eventing and polo areas. There’s even a drive-through designed to accommodate smaller trucks and trailers – if you have a big rig you might not fit.
“We wanted the coffee to be really special,” says Melanie Bortmas, the owner. Melanie drives to Ravenel regularly to pick up beans that are fresh roasted to order there by Low Country Coffee Roasters. “Otherwise what is the point of a coffee bar?”
Breakfast muffins and other pastries are made in-house daily in a variety of flavors. For lunch, you can choose a hot hand-pressed panini sandwich or a salad. “Our lettuce is hand-washed and prepped,” Melanie says, “We don’t use bagged lettuce, because even at very nice restaurants you can tell – sometimes the salad is not fresh and I didn’t want that.”
Melanie, who comes from northeast Ohio, began wintering in Aiken five years ago along with her daughter, Marina, who is an event rider. They came for the horses, fell in love with the area, and are now fulltime residents. Marina, 20, is competing regularly, with Advanced ambitions. When she is not on a horse, she can often be seen helping her mom behind the counter at Ridgecrest.