In Delaware, the new year started with a jolt — and that’s a good thing.
Three independently owned coffee shops opened last month, proving that you can never have too many lattes.
Like cleaners, banks and drug stores, every neighborhood seems to need a coffee shop — which is as it should be, according to Nicholas Qaabar, owner of Scout Café in Wilmington’s Triangle neighborhood.
His new restaurant is also near the Ninth Ward and Baynard Village.
“I want to create a community hub,” he said, a common refrain among coffee shop owners.
Here’s the skinny on Delaware’s new spots for your daily cup of Joe — or two.
342 Barley Mill Plaza, Wilmington
Owner Katie Kutler is particular about the spelling and look of her new business’s name.
But if you talk to her for any length of time, you realize that she won’t compromise on her vision.
KARMA, as she calls it for short, hit the ground running last week, and the opening was so successful, the shop had to close for a few days to restock. It’s now open from 6 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Coffee shops have often sported a rustic chic ambiance. Not KARMA. Kutler designed a clean white-and-black space with touches of marble and chrome.
The shop could easily double as a zen-filled meditation and yoga studio — which is precisely the case. Sip coffee by day and slide into downward-facing dog in the evening.
“The intention behind KARMA is to become the area’s local community hub, focusing on mental health and wellness,” says Kutler, who will offer workshops. She also has a retail section with wellness products.
The menu reflects the mission. Mushroom coffee, turmeric latte and blue matcha tea share the menu board with espresso and cappuccino. (Coffee comes from Ceremony Coffee Roasters).
There is a lengthy list of “toasts,” including the Namaste — cashew butter, banana slices, hemp and chia seeds and a honey drizzle.
KARMA bills itself as “your third place” — a social surrounding separate from home and work.
The Cali vibe is new for Delaware, but judging by the response thus far, it is a refreshing change.
2316 Baynard Blvd, Wilmington
The one-story corner building on Baynard Boulevard was neglected when Qaabar fell in love with it. But you’d never know it now.
Qaabar has totally renovated the Triangle landmark.
Like Kutler, he has a penchant for white and black, but only for the exterior, and the café’s look is far more farmhouse than modern.
Inside, earth tones, mainly green and ochre, drive the décor.
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To Qaabar, scout refers to the outdoors and adventure — blazing new trails or trying new dishes.
Originally from the Middle East, Qaabar features a few items from his homeland, including falafels and hummus. But there are plenty of options, such as grilled cheese.
The coffee comes from Brooklyn-based Partners Coffee Roasters, a Fair Trade company that supports sustainable growing practices and farmers.
It’s open Thursday, Friday and Monday from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.
102 Federal St., Milton
In Milton, Danio Somoza and partner Thaina Bittencourt introduced a second location of Zava Café in space formerly occupied by the Fox Hole.
Zava’s menu reflects his pedigree. Few coffee shops serve prime USDA filet mignon with two sunny-side-up eggs for breakfast or a pear chutney Angus burger for lunch.
The beverage menu is equally diverse. For example, consider Mexican hot chocolate, beet latte and hibiscus iced tea. And, of course, there’s coffee.
The Milton location is open seven days a week, from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m., and the owners plan to add a bar and, perhaps, a roastery. The Rehoboth site, meanwhile, is seasonal.
The trio of new spots may soon have company. Word on the street is that a popular Wilmington shop is looking to expand.
Based on the warm welcome that the newcomers received, it’s a stimulating idea.
131 N. Market St., Wilmington
Located in the newly opened Chancery Market Food Hall & Bar in downtown Wilmington, Espresso sells lattes, teas, iced drinks and cold brews.
Food selections include bagels and an impressive number of sweet and savory crepes.
For instance, Evening in Paris is wrapped around turkey, tomato, onion and parmesan cheese.
The Fashionable Crepe contains apples and is topped with vanilla ice cream, a dollop of whipped cream and a dusting of powdered sugar.
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