by Marissa Marangoni

I feel I have to thank you, readers. If it weren’t for this column, I wouldn’t go anywhere new. I typically steer clear of the unfamiliar, but over the last few years, I’ve gone a lot of places I wouldn’t have gone of my own free will.

I did it all for the toilets.

This month, I tried a few different thrones, but out of the four I visited, only one was worth mentioning. I don’t enjoy writing about bland bathrooms unless there is some kind of story to go with them — so for the most part, the bathrooms you find here are either really good or really bad. Since the last few fell into the latter category, I thought it’d be nice to report on the former.

Café Arnone (pronounced “arr-no-knee”) is newish to the Fairlawn scene. I’ve been meaning to get there for a while now but just kept not going because, well, I have anxiety. It’s a curious thing what your head can do to prevent you from doing things you truly want to do (doo doo).

My “going-to-a-new-place” anxiety, specifically when it comes to cafés, is that I will stand in the wrong place to order things, wait in the wrong place after I order the things, and that I will order the wrong things. I cannot for the life of me remember the words you use to order coffee. I always end up sounding like a special kind of idiot ordering a “medium cappuccino” from a place that doesn’t serve “mediums,” and then I feel like an even bigger idiot when I get that cappuccino because I can’t drink a cappuccino without cringing. I don’t like cappuccinos, but it’s the only coffee drink name that I know when I am nervous and in a line.

For you, readers, even though it took me a few months and some deadline-induced panic to get there, today I drove over a curb and parked in a spot that wasn’t anywhere near the front entrance and then stood at the wrong end of a line to order an affogato at Café Arnone to get you your bathroom review. You are welcome.

This single-stall bathroom is one of those bathrooms where you open the door and say “Ahhh.” The automatic light illuminates a clean, spa-like space that even led the toddler in tow to exclaim, “Dis a nice bafroom!”

All the plumbing was plumbing, the surfaces were so clean that I didn’t flinch when someone’s small fingers started their fine tradition of touching everything in sight, and there was even a fresh scent throughout the room that I couldn’t identify but was happy to smell. It goes without saying, but I’m going to say it anyway: good smells are rare in bathrooms. If a place has a truly good-smelling bathroom — not the just-sprayed-with-half-a-can-of-Renuzit-potpourri smelling bathroom — you know there’s someone who really puts stock in their entire reputation.

Aside from the basics, the flooring in the café commode is nice. There’s a folded changing table with ample space around it for diapering purposes. A cute little storage table with baskets stands in the corner near the toilet paper dispenser. Normally, I would have pulled the baskets out to check out their contents, but I had to be a parent and decided against making opening random drawers and baskets a new fun thing for my kid to do in public bathrooms. (Someone please tell me what’s in those baskets, okay?)

My favorite feature in Café Arnone’s bathroom is the small fake plant that sits atop that storage table. The little pop of green really adds to the fresh vibes this bathroom gives off. A bigger plant could make those vibes even fresher. Bathrooms ought to be fresh. Toilet Tip #567: Plants can help increase the freshness of a bathroom, or assist in creating that illusion for those who need it.

Café Arnone’s bathroom gets 5/5 toilets. It’s so fresh and so clean. The affogato was good. Also, Marangoni rhymes with Arnone. Mostly.

Marissa Marangoni writes about bathrooms and manufacturing.

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