Black Owl Cafe
This past weekend, I saw a lot of Twitter posts about a new coffee shop that opened downtown. I lamented on Twitter that I really wish I was a coffee drinker because there have been a couple of shops open recently that look really interesting. One of those shops saw my Tweet and told me I should come in anyway as they have a lot more to offer.
So, J and I talked about it, but we were still a little hesitant because they don’t have a huge sandwich menu, but this afternoon, J saw on Twitter that they were smoking pulled pork today and that convinced her.
Black Owl Cafe is the new venture by the people that used to operate The Strutt. This new coffee shop is in downtown Kalamazoo on Walbridge Street right off of Kalamazoo Avenue. I’m not really certain what this building used to be, but it’s a perfect setting for a little coffee shop.
I say little because that’s exactly what it is. There are only three tables plus a stand up bar along the wall for seating. There is a nice patio and a couple more tables under a big tree outside, but it’s not exactly the huge venue The Strutt used to be.
The place was actually pretty crowded when we stopped in for lunch at 2:00 on a Monday afternoon. All of the tables were full and there were a couple people in line in front of us when we walked through the open door into the shop.
J already knew she wanted the pulled pork sandwich, but another sandwich caught my eye on the special board. The Italian panini sounded way too good to pass up. J put in the order for the two sandwiches and a couple of drinks. I went with a Sioux City Sarsaparilla while J ordered a Chai Tea. Now, Black Owl has all these amazing coffee and tea selections and J and I go for the most boring thing they have…which, honestly, isn’t all that boring.
We asked for our sandwiches to go since there were no seats inside and there really wasn’t a good place for L. I’m not saying it’s not a family place because there was another couple there with their two kids who were thoroughly enjoying their sandwiches. It’s just that there’s not a lot of seating and no place for a baby.
While waiting, J and I headed outside to sit on the patio where she started in on her Chai Tea. I was holding L and she really wanted my soda so I had to put it away and wait until we got home.
About ten minutes after we ordered, I wandered back inside to see our sandwiches just being put on to the counter. They weren’t really wrapped up to go in the traditional sense, but they were in paper boats as opposed to the real plates that are used when dining in. The waitress picked up the two sandwiches and went looking for us. She was looking for J, not me and walked right by me. I stopped her and pointed her outside to J. We had considered just eating at a picnic table outside, but L was getting a little tired and we had no place to set her down, so we grabbed the two paper baskets and headed home.
The thing both J and I always liked about The Strutt was the sandwiches. We never went to shows there or hung out at the old place, but we loved the sandwiches. We had the same high expectations for Black Owl Cafe.
The Italian was an incredible panini with an array of Italian meats, mozzarella cheese and this incredibly delicious, but hot pepper relish. The sandwich was a perfect proportion of toasty bread, delectable meats, and that fiery relish. I shared a bite with J because she just had to see how good this thing was. The sandwich came with kettle chips that were also on the spicy side. Not sure what they actually were, but J and I ate most of them on the ride home and needed a drink to cool the fire before we dug in to our sandwiches.
J called her pulled pork one of the best she’s had in Kalamazoo giving The Rib Cage a run for their money. The tender, juicy, smokey pulled pork is served on two slices of white bread with a spicy, sweet sauce. At first glance, J thought she was going to need more sauce, but the pork was so tender I don’t think she ever ended up adding the extra sauce I had grabbed out of the fridge. Her sandwich also came with kettle chips, but hers were of the plain variety.
The bill for two sandwiches and two drinks was just under twenty bucks. Black Owl Cafe is obviously a coffee drinkers paradise, but for non-coffee drinkers like myself, there is plenty for you to check out. As I had hoped, the sandwiches were amazing. They don’t have a huge selection, but what they have is worth seeking this place out.