Drogo N’ Tuck Artisan Cafe


Eylie Buehler

Owners Michael Reed and Tonya Gregory laugh while pausing for a photo behind the counter of their new cafe.

Founders of Drogo N’ Tuck Artisan Cafe, Tonya Gregory and Michael Reed, met on March 27, 2015. On Jan. 1, 2016 Reed proposed to Gregory.  On Feb. 5, 2016, the two opened Drogo N’ Tuck. March 16, 2016 is the anticipated day the two will be wed, not in a church, not in city hall, but in their own coffee shop in the Market House amongst friends and customers.

Open now for a few weeks, Drogo N’ Tuck prides itself as an all-organic and locally sourced artisan coffee shop. However, the owners of Drogo N’ Tuck have their own story to tell.

Tonya Gregory, 37, balances owning a shop and being a mother all while taking online courses to get her bachelor’s degree in photography. While she always loved baking, owning a coffee shop is certainly a new adventure for her. Michael Reed, 29, on the other hand, grew up surrounded by food and restaurants.

Their story begins a few years ago. Reed was working between various jobs in pizza shops, cafes, bar kitchens and fine dining.

“I tried other jobs, but it never worked out. I always came back to food,” said Reed.

While working at Meadville’s Artist Cup café a few years ago, Reed was introduced to coffee.

“Coffee is a whole other thing,” said Reed. “I fell in love with it, so that was my goal…to open a coffee shop.”

Gregory, similarly, gained experienced in a range of fields, from food to retail before she landed on her recent adventure with Reed.

Gregory met Reed through a mutual friend. While their official first date was not necessarily the most conventional, it made all the difference to Gregory. It was during a transitional chapter; Gregory was in the process of moving. In need of assistance, a simple Facebook post turned into the couple’s first date.

“Barely even knowing me, he stayed with me for 12 hours that day, helping me move,” said Gregory. “I was moving and emotional, I couldn’t take a lot of stuff cause I was downsizing and separating. He was there the whole time. That was like our technical first date. He met my mom, brother…it was weird, but really cool.”

From then, everything fell into place. After dating for a little less than a year, Reed decided to propose one evening while Gregory was catching up on her online class.

“I was doing homework and I wanted to make a cup of coffee. He gives me my cup of coffee and tied on it was my ring,” Gregory said. “He was like…‘You want to do this?”

From then, it has been a balance between the two, both coming up with ways to grow and improve Drogo N’ Tuck as well as follow their passions.

“The whole coffee shop aspect is so laid back,” said Reed. “ I get to do simple food, upscale it a little. I can do whatever and it works.”

Reed also says he plans on changing the menu with the changing seasons. With the farmer’s market coming to the Market House in the spring and summer, he plans on incorporating fresh produce the menu. Reed is proud how nothing from Drogo N’ Tuck comes pre-made in their kitchen.       

“We found that people really enjoy that the breads we are making…are locally sourced flours, organic,” said Reed. “I’m doing my own soups and take on quiches, and now its French Bread Pizza Fridays.”

While Reed plays around with flavors and his passions, Gregory hopes for a day where they can combine both of their talents into writing a cookbook.

“I’ve always liked taking pictures. It’s so hard because the shop is my main focus right now,” said Gregory. “I’m just trying to figure out how to do both. That’d be awesome…if we did a cookbook someday.”

As far as the name Drogo N’ Tuck, that idea has a narrative of its own.  Drogo stems from the patron saint of coffee houses while Friar Tuck is from the classic tale, Robin Hood.

“Michael got the idea to combine the two names…we got the saint and wild tuck,” said Gregory.

“That’s part of the truth,” said Reed. “For me, he’s not just about coffee, it’s also the fact that he was a bookkeeper, a farmer, a shepherd. He held a ton of different jobs till he found his job roasting coffee. And then he loved it. I can relate [to] it.”

Commencing the start of this new chapter in their lives, Reed and Gregory decided to be wed in the Market House.

“I kind of hated the idea of leaving work…so by bringing it here, whoever happens to be around gets to be part of our wedding,” said Gregory. “I’ll take off my apron, maybe try to fix my hair. Get married. Then go back to work.”

As far as long-term goals, Reed and Gregory are enjoying their time here in the Market House but are considering other options.

“I couldn’t have picked a better location,” said Reed. “This place is the best.”

And Gregory agrees.

“We are hoping in the next year to possibly expand,” said Gregory. “But we always want to keep this place because this is where we started.”

Drogo N’ Tuck is located in the Market House in Meadville. On weekdays, hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays are 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. and the cafe is closed on Sundays.