Interzone celebrates 20 years

Arielle Miller is a barista at Interzone on Monroe Avenue, which just celebrated its 20th birthday.

Angelina Macca, Practicum Contributor

Local coffee shop gives back to local artists by showcasing art, music.

For the last 20 years, Interzone has been a safe haven where the community can showcase art, savor coffee or attend a show.

The main goal for Interzone has always been to showcase art from the community, said owner William Mccanless. Interzone has been a long-standing and successful art gallery because it serves high-quality coffee, tea and food by folks who are down to earth.

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“I’ve worked here for four years,” Arielle Miller, barista, said. “It’s a great place to work and I’ve made a lot of friends and connections here.”

Miller said people of all different backgrounds congregate to Interzone. 

Dharma Ahmed Mirza visits Interzone everyday and finds it’s a place she can fully express herself. 

“I often hold meetings relevant to the LGBTQ+ community here because they have inclusive restrooms, inclusive staff and I know that a lot of my peers in the community also feel safe and comfortable here,” Mirza said via email. 

Mirza said Interzone makes her feel accepted, empowered and safe.

“Being a queer, transgender woman, who is very gender non-conforming in my presentation, it can be difficult to find spaces in the community where I can feel like myself and feel safe fully expressing myself,” Mirza said via email. “I never have this issue at Interzone.”

People from all around the world go to Interzone, Miller said.

“I’ve met people from so many countries,” Miller said. “I met someone the other day from Burkina Faso in West Africa.”

Miller said customers are comprised of an eclectic mix of people including professors, students, townies and even an underground music scene.

“I see Interzone as a venue or facilitator for the arts,” Mccanless said.

Mccanless said The Corvallis DIY, Poetics Corvallis and Corvallis Experiments In Noise are independent groups that utilize Interzone as a venue for their shows and gatherings, Mccanless said. 

Corvallis DIY hosts concerts year-round that are open to all ages. Mccanless wanted Interzone to be a venue that those of all ages can attend. Being so close to campus, Mccanless knew there would be many undergraduate students looking for something to do. The last thing they needed was another bar that was off limits.

Poetics Corvallis hosts their readings the first Friday of every month and is open to anyone interested in poetry, Mccanless said.

Noise shows are held the last Saturday of every month, according to Mccanless, which are described as pure and crazy noise. 

Miller said Interzone provides an inclusive environment right off campus where people can feel accepted no matter who they are or what they like to do.

“Our menu is vegetarian, vegan and mostly organic,” Mccanless said, “The 20 years I’ve been here, more and more people are vegetarian or at least friendly to it.”

Interzone tries to operate as environmentally sustainable as possible and buys their ingredients locally and responsibly largely to support environmental health and animal ethics, said Mccanless.

“We have some food that is from outside places, that we had in the beginning, because they are still wildly popular,” Mccanless said regarding to pre-packaged cookies that are commonly picked up by students on the go. 

Interzone gets their coffee from Greg Gorchels, owner of Pacifica Coffee, a roaster located in Corvallis.

“Greg is a great roaster, he graduated from Oregon State University,” Mccanless said. “Since day one I have had organic coffee, mostly fair trade and sometimes shade grown.”

Mccanless said pour over coffee was popular in Santa Cruz, California where he moved from before coming to Corvallis. A personal brew, as Interzone calls them, is a more traditional and time consuming method of preparing coffee and has been offered on the menu since 1998. 

“I love the coffee and drinks here,” Mirza said via email. “I enjoy the organic selections, but I know whatever I get, it’s going to support a small-local business owner that always comes through with quality coffee.”

Interzone is located at 1563 NW Monroe Ave. and is open Monday through Friday 7-12 a.m., Saturday and Sunday 8-12 a.m.