Top 5 Dining
Coffee dates are back! Get out of the house to catch up with friends or work remotely with a change of scenery. These local shops are spilling the beans on great atmosphere, premium coffee, and plenty of tasty treats. Skip the giant chain drive-thru and turn an ordinary day into something special.
Lousivlle Joe Coffee Company
Louisville Joe Coffee Company is a coffee bar inside Dox Fox Clothing and Culture bou- tique at 1567 Bardstown Road in the Bonnycastle neighborhood of the Highlands. Dot Fox/ Louisville Joe Owner Sally Bird says Louisville Joe has been “nestled here in our hearts” ever since she drew up her original business plan twenty years ago. It is “a natural evolution” out of the boutique’s location. The coffee bar has been open for a year now, offering organic, fair-trade coffee and tea and “the most magi- cal espresso shots” from the vintage 1970s Vic- toria Arduino espresso machine.
Sally is a “born and bred Louisville kid” who always wanted to “invest time and en- ergy in business” here. She works with local dairy suppliers, features pastries from lo- cal bakeries, and sources coffee from Bean roastery on Goss Avenue and Safai Coffee headquartered on E. Kentucky St. Louisville Joe is “such an asset to the boutique,” says Sally, as folks are “meandering down Bard- stown Road” they can get a boost of energy to power through the day or hot chocolate to keep the kids happy while they shop.
Sally’s favorite coffee drink is a Dot Fox Latte made with oat milk, almond, and cara- mel. She also recommends the Green Tea or
Jasmine Tea Latte. This summer, try an Ital- ian soda, iced Rose Hip Tea, or Mint Tea with pomegranate, fresh mint, and fresh thyme. “We also make a mean chai,” inspired by a chai Sally had on a visit to Taos, New Mexico. “It’s pretty spicy but still sweet.” Louisville Joe currently serves pastries from Smør Nordic Bakeri and Breadworks scones, including the cinnamon scone that Sally can’t resist.
Louisville Joe Coffee Company is all take away service with just one table out front for now. But there are plans to expand with a kitchen and more seating for a more tra- ditional café setting. Louisville Joe is open 9 am - 8 pm Monday through Saturday, and 9 am - 6 pm on Sunday. Sally is looking for- ward to hosting events such as poetry slams, open mike nights, and psychic fairs. Follow @ louisvillejoecoffee on Instagram.
Day's Espresso & Coffee
Owned by a group of friends and family members, Day’s Espresso & Coffee is “a Highlands institution” in its 27th year of op-eration. One of the owner’s friends opened the first coffee cart on Bainbridge Island across Elliott Bay from downtown Seattle. Day’s Espresso & Coffee opened on Decem- ber 13, 1994, serving “superior product” from a fourth-generation San Francisco roaster.
Co-Owner/General Manager Chris Roy was Day’s fourth paid employee and co-owned and designed the Downtown Louisville loca- tion open from 1998 to 2005. “Managing Day’s Espresso & Coffee has never felt like work,” says Chris. “I love doing it, and it feels effort- less most of the time.” He takes great pride in helping build the business over all these years. Serving the “most consistent product” is the goal. “We focus on the nuance of each drink. I train my people that they are not just completing a task. I instill taking ownership of what you’re doing. The skill to construct espresso beverages is something they can take with them anywhere.” Luckily, Louisville is “a city rich with local coffee shops.”
Chris suggests starting with drip coffee (in a range of 33 different roasts that “never taste burnt”) or a classic espresso drink. “We have the best Cappuccino in the city, and I would gladly host a drink-off to prove it.” He also recommends the Espresso, Cortado, and Con Panna. Day’s offers over thirty flavors for the Cafe Latte, along with a wide selection of alternative dairies. Beat the heat this sum- mer with a Big Train blended frappe avail- able in a dozen flavors. The shop also serves Lotsa Pasta paninis and baked goods from Payne Street Bakehouse and Kizito Cookies.
Day’s Espresso & Coffee has benefited from the “pandemic reset,” receiving small business financial relief and improved park- ing and traffic flow due to permanent traf- fic pattern changes on Bardstown Road. The walk-up window is perfect for pet owners and unvaccinated customers, and a new merch section has expanded offerings. Day’s is open seven days a week from 6:30 am to 6 pm and may host after-hours evening events in the future.
Follow @daysespressoandcoffee on Insta- gram and Facebook.
Please & Thank You
After successfully navigating the business disruptions of the COVID-19 pandemic, Please & Thank You celebrated its tenth anniversary on May 17, 2021. The woman-owned cafés located in Clifton, East Market District, and Prospect are fa- mous for their coffee program - and chocolate chip cookies! Founder/Owner/Operator Brooke Vaughn was born and raised in Indianapolis, Indiana. From age 8, she spent every other weekend in Louisville at her father’s Daily Grind Coffee Shop on Frankfort Avenue. Brooke has worked in coffee since age 15, and she hasn’t stopped since. Working in a coffee shop next door to a record store in Indianapolis, Brooke met her husband. They eventually decided to take a shot at opening a café in Louisville.
Since its inception, Please & Thank You has distinguished itself from other Louisville coffee shops. “We don’t do decaf or non-fat,” says Brooke. “This is a place where people come to treat themselves, not unlike visiting an ice cream parlor. It’s a nostalgic experience.” The most popular coffee drinks at Please & Thank You are the Iced Coffee and Cold Brew from their proprietary blend by Good Folks roastery in Louisville.
Brooke spent 21⁄2 years developing her chocolate chip cookie recipe. In the early days of Please & Thank You, she put out just a half-dozen cookies every morning, and they sold out by noon. It wasn’t long before the cookies landed on local “Best of” lists and then in the national media. Now thousands are sold each day! Please & Thank You’s chocolate chip cookie “Dough Box” is now available in the freezer sections at Kroger, Paul’s Fruit Market, and Rainbow Blossom Natural Food Markets.
Brooke’s favorite drink is Iced Black Tea, which is also avail- able by the gallon - along with Green Tea, Lemonade, and Iced Coffee. Please & Thank You locations will be running a Gallon Sale through July 31st. To order online, download the Please & Thank You app or visit pleaseandthankyoulouisville. com. Follow @plsthnks for the latest specials and updates.
Safai Coffee Shop
The history of Safai Coffee Shop begins in 1998 with a 72 square-foot drive-through kiosk originally called Java Brewing Com- pany. Just before opening Safai Coffee Shop in the Highlands in 2011, a trip to France in- spired Mike and Medora Safai to serve crepes at the new location. “They had no idea how popular the crepes would be,” says General Manager Allison Tipton. “We have come to be known for our crepes.” Both sweet and sa- vory crepes are available, including the Poppa Lava featuring “spicy cream cheese, bacon, smoked gouda, pickled red onions, grilled red peppers, and a generous drizzle of hot sauce.”
Allison started her career with Safai ten years ago as a barista. She “began taking on more responsibilities as opportunities arose. “I have been the General Manager for eight years now, and it is an immensely reward- ing job.” Safai’s “welcoming atmosphere and community engagement” make it “a safe space for people of all identities and back- grounds.” Safai has held events and fund- raisers to benefit local community organiza- tions such as Dreams with Wings, Kentucky Health Justice Network, and Change Today, Change Tomorrow.
Safai Coffee Shop’s drip coffee solely using the pour-over method also sets it apart from other local coffee shops. “Pour-overs are made by slowly pouring hot water over ground cof- fee through a cone-shaped dripper. The ben- efit of a pour-over is that the coffee is freshly ground when ordered, and you can taste all of
the distinct flavors more clearly.” The Ethiopia Yirgacheffe dark roast “has a rich dark choco- late flavor and hints of blueberry.”
Safai’s most popular specialty coffee drink is the Black Magic latte with white mocha sauce and blackberry syrup. The new signature 24K Gold Latte with vanilla, turmeric, nutmeg, clove, and cardamom can also be served hot or iced. Allison recommends the seasonal lem- onade made in-house with blueberry syrup and soda added - perfect for summer!
Safai Coffee Shop currently offers carry- out, patio seating, and a walk-up window. The indoor seating area is still under reno- vation, with plans to open in late summer. In addition, a second location, Safai Coffee Bar, is available in Logan Street Market. For the latest specials and updates, follow @safaicof- feeshop on Facebook and Instagram.
Brew & Sip Coffee Bar
On May 11, Brew & Sip Coffee Bar celebrated the grand opening of its newly expanded shop at 3800 Shepherdsville Road in West Buechel. Brew & Sip managed to grow during the pandemic
from 400 square foot micro space to a 1700 square foot dine-in with drive-thru. More than just a coffee bar, Brew & Sip provides “a safe space for the community,” providing jobs and educating customers to “get an understanding of what they’re ordering.” says Owner LaToya Cook-Bradley. She is passionate about grow- ing with the business, continuing her education in restaurant re- vitalization and small business development.
LaToya shared some of her current favorite specialty cof- fee drinks. Brew & Sip’s classic Cinnamon Swirl is reminiscent of a cinnamon roll. The Bourmella is bourbon caramel sauce over rich espresso and steamed milk. Not Your Hiney tastes much richer than it is with cacao powder, local honey, choice of steamed milk, and espresso. Nilla Bee features vanilla and local honey. The decadent Swizza is chocolate caramel hazelnut with Heath milk chocolate English toffee pieces.
The food items at Brew & Sip Coffee Bar go well beyond typical pastry offerings. LaToya owns and operates Flavorfull Catering Events & More, so she knows her way around the kitchen. Brew & Sip serves breakfast daily with both healthy and indulgent choices, such as Avocado Toast with Egg and Cinnamon Rolls. The Smoked Chicken Salad on a croissant remains a best-seller at lunchtime.
Order online at brewandsipcoffeebar.com and follow @bre- wandsipcoffeebar on Facebook and Instagram for the latest menu specials and updates.