Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Twinkle Twinkle Little Coffee Bar

Photo by Barney Taxel, Taxel Image Group
It makes me really happy to see a long shuttered piece of real estate return to use and come alive again, especially in my own neighborhood. Theresa's Italian Restaurant closed about 20 years ago and the space has been an empty eyesore ever since. Now the corner of Murray Hill and Edgehill is bright with lights, energy and a classy caffeinated buzz, courtesy of Kim Jenkins — founder, brewer-in-chief and true bean counter of Rising Star Coffee Roasters. After extensive renovations that left the place looking likes it's been there for years, he recently opened this second outpost. Like the original location in Hingetown, on the edge of Ohio City, only the best is good enough to pour.

Photo by Barney Taxel, Taxel Image Group
But there's more seating here, at tables and a long U-shaped bar. The look is post-industrial — exposed brick is paired with natural wood and some bold splashes of red and green paint, accented with vintage restaurant chairs. In the basement, identical signs on the men's and ladies' rooms read, "Please use the restroom that you identify closest with."

Photo by Barney Taxel, Taxel Image Group

If you're drinking-in rather than getting it to-go, coffee is presented on a little bamboo tray accompanied by a shot of sparkling water. There's pastries from Zoss the Swiss Baker, a bowl of local apples for sale and friendly, knowledgeable folk behind the counter. Coffee choices, with wine list-like descriptions, and various preparation methods require thoughtful decision making.
At 7 p.m. Nov. 6, the Little Italy location is hosting TNT (Thursday Night Throwdown): Dia de Muertos Edition. The featured event is a friendly competition among local baristas, but everybody's welcome to dress up, socialize and enjoy some top shelf java.


Anonymous said...

"Empty eyesore"? How can an unoccupied space/interior be an eyesore if no one can see it? Architecturally, that building is one of the most attractive in Little Italy....even before the bricks in front came down. You should be above such journalistic cliche.

Elizabeth J. Neal said...

The market, if you haven't been, is a pretty cool spot -- it has a nice selection of international food and produce; I got some tasty avocados there the other day. The folks are friendly too. Give it a look. Sudhamani

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