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Red Eye Caffe brewing the good stuff for decades

On April 3, 2014

The Red Eye Caffe in Saginaw has been catering to the coffee crowd on North Hamilton Street for over 20 years.

It was opened in 1993 by Bret Cousineau and Pat Green. Cousineau opened Espresso Milano in Midland three months later with Keith Jay Taylor. Cousineau and Taylor Still own Espresso Milano, but the Red Eye Caffe changed hands two years after opening.

Current owner Arlene Maul purchased the coffee house with her late husband, but kept the original atmosphere and menu.

“It was too much work running the two stores at a time,” Cousineau said. “I hold a dear regard for the Red Eye. ”

The store manager, Mari Perry, has been at Red Eye Caffe for eight years.

“It’s fantastic; the customers are great and the employees are great,” said Perry. “A lot of different people come together and hang out.”

The menu at the Red Eye includes coffee, coffee specialty drinks, tea, juices and smoothies. There are a variety of drinks to fit many tastes and age groups.

“If you have no idea what you like, you can usually throw anything at us and we’ll make it for you,” Perry said. “We try to be accommodating as possible.”

“In the spring we get our smoothie mixes. They’re all organic,” said Sophia Madaio, a barista at the shop. “Kids love our juices.”

The Red Eye attracts a diverse group of customers because of its urban location and atmosphere, conducive to work and study.

“We have a wide-spread crowd by word of mouth. They’re trying to build up this area so we’re starting to get a bigger, more diverse crowd,” said Madaio. “(From) first-time tattoo kids next door, to older gentlemen, people who have grown up here, to professors at CMU. Everyone intermingles. We can communicate with people at all different levels.”

Coffee lovers are very particular, and customers plan their visits to the Red Eye according to their taste preferences and personalities of the employees.

“Some people request schedules of certain baristas because they make their drinks just right,” said Madaio. “I have a night crowd of regulars that will come in and stay with me until closing. It’s very social. It starts out as a job, and you get so attached to the people that you can’t leave.”12

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