(From left) Gretchen Silver, Becky and Randy Shuttlesworth enjoy a Saturday morning cup and discussion at The Grind.

In the 1980s and ’90s Americans tuned into Cheers, the ultimate situation comedy about friendship fostered in a special place. The mood was instantly set with Gary Portnoy’s theme song “Where Everybody Knows Your Name.” Zackquill is beginning to profile the friends found at Morgantown’s hangouts with this new series: The Usuals, I Presume.

Ask Randy and Becky Shuttlesworth if they’re regulars at The Grind on Willey Street and they might pull your leg a little. “We’re semi-regulars. Just Wednesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays,” Randy answered.


The retired Fairmontonians make the trek for good coffee, socialization and tomatoes. A recent Saturday morning sit-down took a short break after their first sips of coffee while they ran to the Farmers’ Market to get in the tomato line. Once they returned their regular status was confirmed when other patrons asked if they’d bought their tomatoes yet.

The Shuttlesworths gravitated to Morgantown for the vibrant downtown that reminded them of their youth. “I grew up halfway between Clarksburg and Fairmont. When Dad would get a Saturday off we’d alternate between the two. That’s the culture I grew up in,” Randy explained.

In Morgantown the Shuttlesworths were initially attracted to the Den and were happy to discover what was then Jay’s Daily Grind. Now they can name almost everybody who comes in and what they do. As Saturday wore on they greeted just about everybody who came in the door and passed the day’s newspapers around. There are transplants from Utah, Long Island and England; a chemist, geologist, psychologist, hockey coach and server.

The mix of regulars serve to help each other out sometimes. “We watch a lot of Masterpiece Mystery. Sometimes we hear a word and we have to ask (the Englishman) Mark,” Randy explained. At other times the regulars challenge each other. “We have discussions, not arguments, discussions,” Randy said. “It’s a microcosm of America: liberals, conservatives, some who believe in God, some who don’t.”

No matter how heated the discussion they all have one thing in common. “That is the thing that unites us all, a good cup of coffee.” Randy asserted. Ken Parker, a retired WVU psychology professor, agreed, although someone joshed him that he’s there to analyze everyone. “I used to go to another place which will remain unnamed. One time they were closed and I tried a cup here and I thought ‘why am I going to that other place,'” Parker said.

It was harder to ask questions with the passage of time and the entry of more regulars as the conversation picked up. There was talk of hurricanes, debate over the color of cherry tomatoes and a concerted effort to figure out which cast member of Bonanza bought the farm first.

One late arrival popped in for just a short while before heading to work. Gretchen Silver is a server at the Boston Beanery in Evansdale. A self-decscibed local yokel, Gretchen chose the Grind based on her father’s assessment of the coffee because,  “He’s a little picky.”

Now Gretchen makes regular stops. “Anytime that I work I start with a cup of coffee,” she said. It’s more than just coffee that keeps her coming back, though. “We’ve made friends here,” she began. “I love the employees. They make me laugh. They know your name.”