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The Man Who Built Marshall’s Inviting Front Porch

Bluegrass at Zuma

Crowds pack Zuma on Thursday nights to hear bluegrass.

Eleven years ago there came unto Marshall, N.C.,  a coffee shop. And it was called Zuma Coffee.  And the community looked upon Zuma and said it is good.

Adapted from a post I placed on Facebook as I was leaving North Carolina last month:

And the heralds spread the name of Zuma through the provinces of Western North Carolina. And the people came to see for themselves. Among them: the morning quaffers of Joe, the Spandexed cyclers of A’ville, the pluckers and bowers of strings, the artists and artisans of the hollows, and those who hunger for home-made victuals and American-made sounds.  And all declared it good.

Joel Friedman

Joel pauses briefly.

And then came the fairest maidens in Madison County and said unto Joel the Proprietor, “Pray, thee, kind sir. We pledge unto you our labor, for yon Zuma is the coolest place in all Carolinadom.”

And the angels bestowed unto Zuma the heavenly recipe for the velvety chocolate luciousness called Zuma Gold. And all said it is good.

Seriously, folks, after a week in Marshall, I am more impressed than ever by what my brother,  Joel Friedman,  created here.

Zuma Coffee is a place where numerous overlapping communities come to enjoy each other’s company, good food and drink and a welcoming atmosphere.

I’m proud to say my brother set the tone that has turned Zuma into Marshall’s inviting front porch.

Bluegrass jam

Fiddler Bobby Hicks, wearing a blue UNC cap, leads the bluegrass jam.


  1. SGF

    Quite a touching tribute. Loved it!

  2. Tamma Moriarty

    A fitting tribute. The accurate description is appreciated.

    • sgf

      May 7, 1960 was also a memorable day.

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