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Waldo’s The Coffee Girls and Westwood’s Hi-Hat are coffee havens

Waldo’s The Coffee Girls and Westwood’s Hi-Hat are coffee havens

Hi Hat Coffee House located across from The Pembroke Hill School on State Line

HiHat coffeehouse is a less-is-more kind of place.  A one-room small brick cottage,  Hi Hat makes up for it’s lack of space with it’s friendly baristas, eclectic decor and an inviting coffee aroma.

Driving down State Line Road, just a few blocks North of Shawnee Mission Parkway, it’s easy to overlook the tiny building. There are only six parking spots and a few tables out on the patio. It sure doesn’t look like much, but Hi Hat doesn’t need a big name like Starbucks or Latte Land for customers to fall in love with their drinks. Neighbors and local students have been coming to Hi Hat for years.

Walking in, I was surprised to find just one barista behind the bar. Although busy making drinks for other customers she took the time to greet me and ask me about my day. Inside, there is just one little table and a few barstools, which makes the small space very crowded. The few tables outside quickly become nonfunctioning as the temperature drops. I would definitely recommend just ‘grab and go’ with your drinks in the winter because the seating is so limited.

Scanning the drink items mounted on the exposed brick wall, we decided to get a peach jet tea, the house coffee and a chai tea. While waiting for our drinks I spotted a small torn out section of the newspaper taped up on the wall. It was a short article about how Hi Hat had been named 2009’s best coffeehouse of Kansas City.

A local artist had a small painting on the wall and Polaroid pictures of winning customers line the ceiling. Customers can choose to put their business card in a bowl to enter in the daily drawing for a free bag of coffee beans.

In just a few minutes the chai tea was ready. It was rich and creamy, with a perfect blend of spices and strong flavor of cinnamon. The chai tea was just what I needed to warm me up on this fall afternoon.

The steaming house coffee seemed slightly plain after tasting the chai tea. Though if a cup of joe is what you’re looking for this will definitely satisfy your taste buds. It was the perfect temperature and had a nice, simple coffee taste.

Although it was cool outside, the frozen peach jet tea was still refreshing. It tasted so fresh it seemed as if I was just biting into a peach. It was smooth, with none of those disgusting chunks of ice or peaches. The jet tea was by far my favorite of the three.

Enjoying the drinks, I sat down on a barstool and looked at the metal bulletin board covered in various business cards and newspaper clippings. There were people to help with learning how to play piano, reorganize a closet or put a house on the market.

They don’t have flashy signs or advertising campaigns, but still have a strong customer base. The appeal of Hi Hat is just that — it’s not Starbucks, but it doesn’t try to be.

Coffee Girls

I felt the vibe of The Coffee Girls before even entering. Looking through the glass front I could see the fluorescent orange chairs and metal tables.

The modern decor was carried throughout the restaurant with sharp edged tables and counter tops and several orange chandeliers hanging from the ceiling.

Once entering, I noticed that there was no wall on the left half of the restaurant but instead it was wide open to the outside. Yes, this let a few leaves and bugs in but also a nice cool breeze.

After looking around, I looked through the fairly small selection of healthy food and decided what I wanted for lunch. I decided on the Edith Wrap and picked from one of their 10 juice combinations a Liquid Sunshine. We also got a June salad, My Mango smoothie and a Coffee Girl coffee.

The prices seem reasonable, $7 and under, comparable to Panera and less then the Mixx or Dean and Deluca. The specialty drinks, juices and smoothies were a little pricier being anywhere from $3.45 to $5.

After giving our order to an edgy, tattooed man, we were handed a jumbo nine of diamonds card and sent to find a table. From there, I watched the man blend my carrot, strawberry, orange, lime and apple juice (Liquid Sunshine) then quickly grabbed it from the counter when I saw it was ready.

I was expecting a sweet, more apple juice tasting drink, but was pleasantly surprised tasting new flavors like carrot and lime juice.

I didn’t know it was possible to mess up a mango smoothie. They did. The My Mango smoothie was way too bland, it tasted like one part mango to thirty parts vanilla yogurt.

Finally, signature Coffee Girl coffee was creamy and had a strong coffee taste with a touch of sweetness. In my opinion I think it is good enough to have a whole restaurant named after it.

We sat down at the bar which looked out upon the street. The wrap and salad were brought out only minutes after we started sipping on our drinks.

The Edith wrap looked wonderful. It was sliced in half showing the basil, tomatoes, mozzarella, spinach and onions. Biting into it, the flavors were all very fresh and organic. The crunch of the grape tomatoes went perfectly with the creaminess of the cheese.

As good as the wrap was, I was expecting something great out of the salad. Unfortunately, it was too much spinach not enough of anything else. There were a few diced up apples, a little bit of mozzarella cheese and some dried cranberries thrown on top drizzled with a bit of raspberry vinaigrette. Yeah,

sounds good until all the good stuff is gone and I was left with a plate full of spinach.

Finishing up our food we bussed our table and headed out the door. Leaving, we walked past a sign saying “Thank You, love the Coffee Girls and Jim”.

As we pull away I was pleased, feeling healthy and full but not stuffed.  The Coffee Girls is a fun place to grab a light, inexpensive lunch while shopping with some girlfriends

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