As I reported earlier, Orlando based Barnie’s Coffee & Tea Company is in the process of rebranding itself to become Barnie’s CoffeeKitchen. The Park Avenue location was the first to be remodeled with the new country kitchen decor.
Along with a new focus on pour-over coffee brewing, which entails having a barista slowly and evenly pour hot water around a filter into a carafe, Barnie’s is rolling out a food menu that is more ambitious than you might expect for a coffee shop. And I have to tell you, most of what I sampled was pretty good.
I visited at noontime and sampled the lunch menu (there is a different menu for breakfast hours). There are “shared plates,” which are more like appetizers, really, a couple of soups, a few salads, and some paninis and tartines, both of which are sandwiches, the first closed and the second open-faced.
From the shared plates my lunch companions and I nibbled on warmed mixed olives seasoned with herbs, garlic and orange zest. Warming the olives makes them somewhat more appealing. We also had some spiced mixed nuts, which were seasoned with a hint of coffee. On a previous visit I had enjoyed the avocado mash, a lumpy version of guacamole.
For our main course, we shared the Kitchen BLT panini and the tuna Nicoise tartine. The BLT featured thick rashers of Nueske bacon with heirloom tomato and crisp romaine on toasted white bread. A very nice sandwich.
The tartine had Wild Planet tuna, a brand that specializes in sustainable seafood, field greens, paper-thin radishes and sliced hard-boiled egg on top of thinly sliced and toasted multigrain bread. It was served with haricot vert and potatoes. It was also good, but I’d order the BLT again. Prices are a bit dear — $9.50 for the BLT and $11 for the tartine — but we are talking about good ingredients and sustainable products. Still, not sure the average person looking to grab a cup of coffee and a bite to eat will appreciate that.
Coffee drinkers are sure to appreciate that Barnie’s is roasting its own beans onsite, though in large batches only. As it stand now, you can’t request a half-pound of beans roasted just for you. Sorry.
There is full table service for those who choose to dine in the CoffeeKitchen. Our server was uber ebullient, which was just fine. Let’s just say that even the coffee wasn’t as perky.
The space is meant to give guests the feeling of sitting in a friend’s kitchen. I’m not sure I get that sensation, but it is comfortable nonetheless, and I’m glad we’re moving beyond the overstuffed sofas of the other coffee chains. A nice touch: wi-fi is provided.
The Barnie’s folks will no doubt be fine tuning as they prepare to expand the brand. (An existing shop in Baldwin Park will be remodeled soon and a new location in downtown Orlando are expected in the first quarter of 2012.) But they’ve got a pretty good concept to expand on.
Barnie’s CoffeeKitchen is at 118 Park Ave. S., Winter Park. It is open from breakfast, lunch and early dinner daily. Here’s a link to barniescoffeekitchen.com. The phone number is 407-629-0042.