Menotti's Coffee Stop opened last week in Venice on Windward Avenue, right off the boardwalk. It is, in other words, so close to the ocean that if you order a cappuccino to go, then take a somewhat leisurely stroll over to the beach, your cup of coffee likely will still be pleasantly warm as you plop yourself down on the sand. And what great coffee it will be: You'll find coffee from Four Barrel here, and there's a good chance that you'll be served by head barista Christopher Abel Alameda, better known as Nicely (and yes, as the nickname promises, he is very, very nice; the antithesis, really, of the snobby barista).
The shop is right next to the Townhouse and its basement Del Monte Speakeasy, though the two share a connection beyond geography: The Townhouse originally opened in 1915 as Menotti's Buffet, and during Prohibition, owner Cesar Menotti turned his downstairs area into a speakeasy. It's his name, and this nod to Venice history, that greets you as you walk through the Coffee Stop doors.
Inside, two standing counters running along each bare wall lead you to the gorgeous counter, where a cool turquoise La Marzocco sits; behind it, a small shelf of vinyl, a wall of tile. The menu is short and effective: Hot and cold brews, cappuccinos, lattes, mochas, hot chocolates. You also can ask for a cortado, made with espresso and milk and slightly sweetened with sugar.
In addition to the excellent coffee, you'll note that Menotti's is a "stop" in every sense of the word: It's more or less 600 square feet and, save for a pair of chairs outside, there is no seating. You thus have just the right amount of space to pop in, order your drink, chat with Nicely or another barista and maybe linger at one of the counters before walking off into the sunset. That the space lacks seating was not lost on a few folks who wandered in while we were there and wondered where they should sit.
"The beach!" Nicely suggested.
Menotti's is open daily from 8 a.m to 8 p.m.
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