If there was an award for most confusing and simultaneously delightful coffee shop name, Coffee, Lunch. would take the gold. As self-proclaimed grammar nerds, we love a good punctuation mark or two in a name. And the challenge of trying to put the inflection in correctly while still conveying you are speaking of a location.
Anyway, Coffee, Lunch. is located in the downtown area in Cummins Station on 10th. It's in a corner of a cool old brick building across from the strip of shops in the actual Cummins Station building. (We just found out there is a super awesome looking book store there and vowed to come back.)
It serves--you guessed it--coffee and lunch. And breakfast. But we guess that just wouldn't fit on the sign. It's open from 7am-5pm, Monday-Friday. Admittedly, not the best coffee shop hours, unless you work downtown.
Coffee, Lunch. is not what we expected. It's a little breeze of California skater culture in a town permeated by vintage clothes and ironic mustaches. There's graffiti-style art scattered around the shop, featured on a few skateboards here and there. The baristas (all male) had prominent tattoos, wore flat-billed hats and T-shirts that reflected the shop name, but in like a Pac Sun kind of way. Like if Ed Hardy stopped going to night clubs and started helping inner city youths learn to surf.
There was a pink fuzzy mustache on the tip jar, plenty of chalkboards, and exposed ducts on the ceiling, though, so it wasn't so different it wasn't recognizable as a Nashville shop.
It's a small shop, but a lot of people who came in for lunch just got it to-go, so we didn't have trouble finding a seat. It was busy during the lunch hour though, which was a good sign. There seemed to be a good mix of people in the shop. There were several people who looked like they were friends with the baristas, a few business professionals, and a group of women who appeared to be "doing lunch" out on the town.
They make their own syrups (and were very adamant that you know that--it listed as such on the receipt) and call their cook a chef, so we know they are serious about this thing. One of their homemade syrups is called "Honey Child," which made us want to ask what percent honey and what percent child it was. Also if they have considered "Honey Boo Boo Child." E observed that would probably just taste like cheez puffs. But we digress.
Its size and the fact that the chalkboard had a personal Twitter account displayed on it indicated this was a small operation, but it paid off in quality (more on that later).
E: I decided to branch out the moment I saw they had Italian Soda and the special flavor of the day was Spiced Tea. I mean, YOLO. It was okay. About halfway through, I added some half-and-half to make it Italian Cream Soda. That would have been nice if I knew how to work the carafe, but I didn't, so it was a bit much. It basically tasted like carbonated chai. I didn't hate it; I didn't love it.
Tea Taste Rating: 5.
Since the place is Coffee, Lunch., we also ate lunch. I got the Chicken Salad and some chips. It was pretty good. I'm not a foodie, so let me just use the description from their website: Hormone-Free Sous Vide White Meat Chicken Breast, Mayonnaise, Celery Root Purée, Salt and Pepper, Lemon Juice, Roasted Grapes, Chopped Herbs, Sunflower Seeds, Sprouts, Garlic, and Shallots. The grapes were slightly pruny, but the sunflower seeds were genius.
Lunch Taste Rating: 8.
L: I got my usual vanilla latte. And y'all, it was great. I really enjoyed it. It was on par with Fido and Bongo for me in terms of favorite vanilla lattes.
Latte taste Rating: 9
For lunch I ordered the chicken provolone sandwich. It had pesto and onions on it as well, and was on grilled sourdough. YOU GUYS. It was so good. Gold stars for days.
Lunch Taste Rating: 10 and can I have one to go, please?
(It came with a side, for reference. I chose chips. Though their chalkboard seemed to REALLY want us to try the pasta salad.)
Latte Art Rating: 5. Fine, but not great. The heart was attempted but not super successful.
ANECDOTE TIME: When Laura walked in, Elizabeth was already there (as per usual). Laura had brought her a waffle iron that a mutual friend had borrowed from Elizabeth in order to return it to its rightful owner. Here is how this exchange went down.
L: Here's your waffle iron.
E: I walked here.
E: [puts waffle iron on table, proceeds to order. Barista asks no questions.]
Elizabeth ended up carrying the waffle iron back to her office two and a half blocks, walked through security with it, and past her company's president. Laura could have given her a ride, sure. But that wouldn't have made a very good story (and she didn't think of it until she drove by Elizabeth, standing on the sidewalk, and waved).
The service at Coffee, Lunch. was good, but nothing to write
home blog readers about.
We should note that their granola and smoked salt and smoked vinegar looked very cool. And the pastries/baked goods looked delish. Once again Laura contemplated taking one home with her. We also like their t-shirts and the fact that everything matches their simplisticly trendy website.
The baristas seemed to care about their job, but weren't super friendly or pushy.
The cups had branded sleeves, and we really like their logo--same as their site. Simple, modern, quirky.
Level of Uncomfortableness Upon Walking In: 3. The baristas were very good about letting us take our time to order without seeming judgmental. There weren't a lot of people there when we walked in, but by the time we left, we had taken pictures of everything, carried a waffle-iron around, and poured way too much cream in the Italian Soda (okay, all of those things were just Elizabeth). No one batted an eye.
Look how uninterested they are.
Level of Pretentiousness: 5. It's a different kind of pretentiousness, though. Almost like, we're-so-cool-we-totally-don't-care-bro. It's whatevs. This is more pleasant, but still a breed of pretentiousness.
Flat-Bill Hat Count: 2
Knit Beanie Count: 1
Newsboy hat/baseball cap hybrid count: 1
Parking: 3. It is plentiful, but be prepared to pay. Bring quarters and you can park along Cummins Station (there were plenty of meter spots open), or there's a paid lot just across the street. We'd advise quarters, because Laura paid $7 for parking due to a lack of change. OR you can walk from your office and then later return carrying a waffle-iron. The choice is yours.
Entertainment Value: 2. This place was pretty boring in terms of entertainment (y'know, besides the kind that we brought with us), but we also sat at a lone table by the window, so we didn't get to eavesdrop.
What do you think of Coffee, Lunch.? Have you had their breakfast? Or their snickerdoodles? (Laura is still thinking about that snickerdoodle she passed up.)