Local cafe review: Colada
With a friendly staff and fun atmosphere, this coffee shop will make you leave with a smile
When I found out I'd be reviewing Colada Shop, the newest Cuban cafe that just opened up at 14th and T Street NW, I was prepared to get some homework done and take a picture or two of the perfect macchiato. However, after seeing the place bustling with people laughing and chatting loudly amidst the Cuban music, I learned it was best to leave my books at home.
The shop’s second location has been busy since its opening on Feb. 1. The vibe is colorful and fun, with bright colors covering the walls and festive Cuban music filling the air. Everywhere I turned people looked friendly, smiling and having a good time with friends. The staff was polite, giving me the wifi passcode despite the Saturday afternoon rush.
Although there are outlets along the walls of the cafe, I was fortunate not to bring my laptop because there was absolutely no room for me to sit comfortably. Due to the cafe’s popularity, just about every seat was taken in such a tight-knit space on the inside as well as on the patio. However, the cafe does plan on opening rooftop seating sometime in the spring, offering more space for guests to enjoy coffee, cocktails and caribbean pastries.
Everything on the menu is made fresh and comes from family recipes of the food and beverage director, Mario Monte. The coffee blend served is exclusive to Colada Shop, and is made as close to traditional Cuban espresso as possible. If you’re not in the mood for coffee, however, don’t worry. The cafe also has breakfast options, sandwiches and desserts.
I made the right choice and purchased the mix of three pastelitos, which are different caribbean style pastries with different fillings. Of the four options guava, guava and cheese, sweet cream cheese and picadillo, I chose the latter three and was greatly impressed by each one. Definitely a nice snack to brighten your day if you need a pick-me-up or a good reason to treat yo’self. Not to mention the three of them only cost a little over $5.
Surprisingly, the wait was not long at all either, taking no more than 10 minutes to receive my pastries in my crisp Colada bag.
Before you exit the shop, you will be sure to notice a mural of a Cuban woman by the name of Tomicina, bearing an infectious smile that’s sure to bring one to your face. Capturing such joy and laughter into such a piece of art is what Colada Shop’s all about, and there’s no doubt you’ll feel it the second you turn on the corner of T Street.
If you plan on visiting Colada, I’d suggest skipping the homework session and trading it in for a day to have fun with friends over homemade pastries. It provides a welcoming atmosphere -- without breaking the bank.