Sometimes I tell Louise, “We gotta get outta here. We need to move the shop to a place with a bit more hustle and bustle, like Miami or Palm Beach.”
“No,” she’ll remind me, gently. ”We’ll make Sarasota even better.”
This usually elicits some sort of sigh from me as I tap my foot and look idly out the window waiting for the throngs of people that will turn our town from tiny to thriving.
Of course, Louise, borrowing Costner’s beloved “If you build it they will come” notion, is right. You don’t just pack up shop and move to where the crowds of nameless people will rush in and out, busily moving on with their day, turning your store into just another stop on their errand list. No. You start small. You lay the foundation. You build it. They come.
Thus, when Perq Coffee Bar cropped up in Sarasota (and by cropped up I mean owners Keith and Erin Zolner worked their fingers to the bone meticulously designing and building a cafe setting to rival some of our country’s coolest spots) I was elated beyond measure.
It’s happening, people. Shop owners throughout our fair seaside city are building it. People like Keith and Erin (along with the rest of their hard-working team, many of them family members) are taking ‘mom and pop’ ideals and mixing them with a bit more modern ‘daughter and son’ perspectives replete with next-gen touches that flawlessly meld trendy and traditional. And they’re doing a fucking awesome job at it. Aaaand…you know what’s happening…people are coming.
Anyway, Perq (really perq, but lowercase just looks like I forgot to hit the shift key, and I can’t have you spend the rest of your day obsessing over my apparent lack of locating the shift key) rocks.
Here’s a more detailed ditty on Sarasota’s newest hot spot featured in The Ticket by a guy who knows a shit ton about coffee and cool things.
Essentially, it works like this: You pick your bean. You pick your brew. You drink your drink.
Sounds really simple, but I must warn you ..your first few visits to Perq, okay, okay, fine, perq, with all of its bells and whistles, may leave you a bit confounded as we’ve been so trained to order a coffee or a latte and call it a day. This is not that kind of place. With intense focus on the beans (where they’re from, how they’re processed) and the brew (seriously there are like a dozen different ways to brew here from the simple morning auto-drip to the late night fire and flame syphon method) and all the artisanal, hand-crafted wizardry in between, this little coffee shop has upped Sarasota’s caffeine game.
Not a coffee drinker? No, seriously, really? Not a coffee drinker? I…am…having a hard time comprehending such nonsense. :) Never fear – perq offers amazing teas, lemonades, matcha and whatever else you obviously criminally insane people look to in place of coffee.
Their matcha sweet white is INCREDIBLE and I’m incredibly grateful to Olivia, owner of the gorgeous boutique Juno & Jove, for turning me onto this drink. Matcha, a green tea derivative ground down to a powder, mixed with steamed milk from our local Dakin Dairy (or you can opt for dairy-free options, again, I will think you are, for real, a serial killer) is perfect. Perfect perfect perfect. I mean, not as perfect as the Deus Roadie in all of its fabulous four shots of espresso glory. But, it’s still perfect nonetheless.
perq offers sweet treats from Keith and Erin’s (and Erin’s awesome sis, Amy) other well-known local business, The Lollicake Queen (seriously, do these people ever sleep??) located adjacent to the coffee shop.
They also have sandwiches and salads from another hometown hero that is helping Sarasota ‘build it,’ Mozzarella Fella, famed for their fresh flavors.
There is so much more I could say about this uber cool cafe. Like the fact that Keith built it. Like with his hands. All that craftsmanship – holy crap. And the research the team did, turning themselves from simple baristas into bona fide coffee geeks (this is high praise.)
Or the cool high-tech touches, the darling little air plants adorning every corner, the cool bathroom (cool bathrooms matter), the organic fruit used in their desserts, the emphasis on green, recyclable products, or the seriously sweet staff willing to hold your hand through your first, and second, visits as you take 25 minutes to decide between brewing styles as each seems more enticing than the next.
But, who cares what I think. Check it out for yourself. This amazing spot is just the latest in a ever-growing line up of incredible businesses that are helping put Sarasota on the map.