The Mill Coffee and Eatery

The Mill Coffee and Eatery held its grand opening Wednesday. The mural behind the counter was painted by local artist Riley Mills.

I have been waiting for months, and it finally happened on Wednesday.

The Mill Coffee and Eatery officially opened — right across the street from The Daily Herald on the Avenue.

Ask any of my coworkers and you would know I’ve been saying, “we have to do a story when that place opens.”

I hope they have sourdough bread; oh, some bagels would be nice; oh, it would be so nice to get some coffee — and on and on and on — scatter-brained talk that sometimes probably didn’t make sense because part of the conversation was inside my head.

I walked over Thursday morning to get a cup of coffee and some breakfast and was able to talk to the owner, Melissa Harris, who was a long-time teacher at Roanoke Rapids High School.

I was so impressed with her, and my heart swelled with love just listening to her talk about her employees — many who are intellectually challenged and physically disabled. Some even her former students, who have never worked before and received their check via paper form for the first time recently.

“I wanted their very first check to be paper so they could see it,” Melissa said.

The Mill used to be Timeless Tea. I loved it then; it was beautiful inside, but much darker than what Melissa has created.

It’s bright and airy now, with history all over the walls — photographs from the past of Roanoke Rapids. She said her family helped her with everything except electricity.

Local artist Riley Mills painted the mural behind the counter.

“I told him he knows my theme, create whatever you want,” she said. “He knocked it out of the ballpark.”

Then there’s the menu, with some combos created around the history theme: The J.P. Stevens, which is soup or chili with 1/2 a sandwich; The Rosemary, soup or chili with a garden salad; The Roanoke, a sandwich and garden salad; or The Patterson Box, which includes a sandwich, one side, cookie or brownie, coffee, tea or water.

On Wednesday, I had a chicken salad sandwich on sourdough bread, and for dessert a strawberry cupcake. Everything was delicious.

Some of the other items on the menu include for breakfast: bagels, toast, croissant or muffin, yogurt, and grits or oatmeal. For lunch, sandwiches are pimento cheese, grilled cheese, tomato, banana, PB and jelly, BLT, turkey, roast beef, chicken salad or a club. Breads for sandwiches are white, wheat, sourdough (I am, and will remain, particularly excited about that selection), plant base, bagels and croissants.

They also have ice cream, with my favorite waffle cone available, and fresh squeezed ades (my coworker tried the orangeade Wednesday).

I know I can’t go every day because I am a Type 2 diabetic, but some of these items are on my list to try in the near future.

I asked Melissa if they were open on Saturday, and she said not quite yet because she is still working out the kinks. The hours for now are 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Please folks, give this place a try because you won’t regret it. This place and its staff really deserve the support of the Roanoke Valley.

I just want to say to Melissa and her staff — welcome to the neighborhood. See ya again soon!

Editor Tia Bedwell can be reached at or 252-410-7056.

Editor Tia Bedwell can be reached at or 252-410-7056.