About St. Elmo’s History

The short version:
St. Elmo’s History: Scott & Nora

Nora Partlow and her former business partner, Scott Mitchell, opened St. Elmo’s Coffee Pub in April of 1996. Scott, a local developer converted the building that houses St. Elmo’s from a dress shop (“The Scott Shop”—no relation) into the award winning building that it is now.

The longer version:
St. Elmo’s Facade

On a visit to Roanoke, VA Scott Mitchell visited a coffee shop with a big library, bulletin boards, and comfy old chairs. He wanted to create that same environment in Del Ray.
After unsuccessfully trying to lure existing coffee companies and being told it was not the right place, he decided to take a leap of faith and do it himself. Enlisting the help of old friend Nora Parltow, the adventure began.

     Nora and Scott wanted St. Elmo’s to be a warm, welcoming place for the citizens of Del Ray. From the beginning it was truly a community affair. Local craftsman, builders and neighbors all lent a hand to create St. Elmo’s Coffee Pub.

     Nora Partlow was no stranger to this community. For years she had been a bartender at The Snuggery (now The Evening Star). She later honed her skills as a restaurant manager at the Bread & Chocolate restaurants in Washington, DC and Old Town Alexandria. When she was approached by Scott Mitchell to start this new business the stars were definitely aligned. Their love of the community and the possibility to do something bigger than just a new business had just the right appeal to both of them. More than just serving incredible coffee and tasty baked goods, St. Elmo’s has become the catalyst to local artists, musicians, politicians and various neighborhood groups. A tradition Nora proudly carries on with unfailing vigor.