Critic’s Corner

Sola Coffee Café


S. Smith

Representing the I Believe in Raleigh movement, the mural is painted across the back of the picturesque Sola Coffee Café. Sola is the perfect place for anyone looking for a cozy, laid-back dining experience and a taste of some of the best food in Raleigh.

Sydney Smith, Staff Reporter

 Sola Coffee Café is unlike other coffee shops in that it is sure to make you feel at home and provide you with an ideal study spot, off-campus lunch location, or hangout for you and your friends. Sola’s amiable staff makes for a flourishing, family-like community, evident from the moment you walk in the door. The inviting ambiance is just another addition to the many customer-pleasing aspects Sola offers.

 Owners John and Jeanne Luther opened their doors in 2012 after working in the food industry since the 1990s. Jeanne orchestrates the design and decor, while John helps with the business aspect of managing Sola. Their daughter, Sally Luther, helps her parents in creating the menu items. Sally said, “Food and drink are two things that bring people together to enjoy conversation or strengthen relationships with pals, and that is so cool that we can be that vessel for them.”

 One of Sola’s trademarks is the infamous “I believe in Raleigh” mural painted on the back of the quaint coffeehouse. The artpiece advocates Sola’s involvement in the community and their gratitude for the wonderful people and places across Raleigh.

 Another unparalleled attribute of Sola is the lack of headphones, computers, and other forms of technology had by customers that are often distracting from a restaurant’s aura. Sally describes, “Because of how community-oriented we aim to be, we have evolved into a place where people come in to enjoy conversation with people, and because of that, we aren’t a “quiet” shop, which we love. It’s a beautiful thing to see how relationships are built day in and day out.”

 Sola’s most popular menu item is their hot mini donuts. Hot minis are made fresh to order and tossed in a variety of flavored sugars, including cinnamon, espresso, birthday cake, and cookie. Sophomore Kevin Francis said, “I love Sola’s donuts, maybe even more than their coffee.” Sola has sold over 1.7 million hot mini donuts since their opening. Sally’s favorite food item sold at Sola is the Avocado and Heirloom Tomato Toast, which includes smashed avocado, heirloom tomatoes, feta, microgreens, a jammy egg, dukkah, salt and pepper, and lime on sourdough bread. The Avocado and Heirloom Toast is a member of Sola’s Toast Bar, which is a range of seasonally interchanged ingredients atop an open-faced piece of toast.

 Additionally, visits to Sola do not come without entertainment. Every Friday and Saturday night from 7:30 P.M. to 9:30 P.M. local artists perform live music in the café. Plus, every second and fourth Saturday of the month from 10 A.M. to 2 P.M., Raleigh-native artists and sellers set up shop on Sola’s outdoor patio and market their unique, handmade goods.

 One quality Sally particularly admires about Sola is the trifecta they represent: “great service, delicious food, and fantastic coffee.” Sally explained, “We have created a standard for our staff to excel at customer service. We strive to create an environment and atmosphere that is welcoming and friendly. We consistently aim to greet with a smile, create conversation, remember names and orders, go around and ask how everything is, and thank them for coming in.”

 Sola Coffee Café is located in the Greystone Village Shopping Center on Lead Mine Road. Stop by Monday through Thursday from 6:30 A.M. to 9 P.M., Friday from 6:30 A.M. to 10 P.M., or Saturday 7 A.M. to 10 P.M. For Sola’s full menu and popup market event schedule, visit