Since getting back home from the PalmSource Mobile Summit & DevCon 2005, I’ve been busier than I’ve ever been, this morning being no exception. I had an appointment first thing this morning, but after taking care of a couple of small items, I ran into a snag. For me to finish up the work my client needed, I had to wait for a return phone call. Since my office isn’t all that close to where I was working, I opted to do a little nomad computing and setup shop in a nearby coffee house.
My usual haunt is at Caffeine. It’s a fantastic coffee house and I was sorely tempted to go there since I know what to expect. However, I spotted a new coffee house last week when I was driving down 12th avenue one evening. Feeling a little bit adventurous and up for something new, I headed to The Frothy Monkey instead.
The Frothy Monkey is located at 2509 12th Avenue South in an area that’s just south of Belmont University. The building is a converted house, typical of the businesses in the area. And like most businesses in this area, parking is a challenge as well. There are only a couple of spots out front, so more than likely you’ll have to find the alley that runs parallel to 12th street and make your way to the back of the building. If you’re familiar with doing this it’s no big deal, but if you’re not it can be a bit confusing.
Once inside you’ll find a nice open layout with a hodge podge of seating to choose from, ranging from high tops, booths, tables and even a sofa. If the weather is nice, there’s always the porch beckoning. If you’ve ever been to Bongo Java, the setup is very similar, but the clientele is a little bit different. It’s a mix between business and students and as such gives off a hip, professional vibe.
Finding a place to setup my laptop was easy due to the fact that they’ve installed outlets almost every where. The booths are obviously popular, but I opted for the high top so that I wouldn’t take up too much room being that I’m only one person. If I ever need a spot to work with a friend though, I’ll be sure to snag one of the comfy booths. 🙂
Once my new nomad office was up and running (aka my laptop booting up), I ordered a double espresso and bought a cinnamon doughnut that was fresh from a nearby bakery. That appeared to be the main extent of the breakfast fare – croissants and muffins. I did see a small menu behind the register that displayed an oatmeal offering, but lunch seems to be their big food focus. They offer several sandwiches and a soup of the day that looked inviting.
Armed with my coffee and doughnut, I settled in and got to work. The new Coldplay Album “X&Y” was playing and helped set the tone of the place. With the coffee color walls, natural hardwood floors and brushed metal ceiling fans spinning, it made working almost fun.
The doughnut was good, but the coffee was better. The pricing was not out of range for a coffee shop and the quality of the espresso was really good. It was obvious that I wasn’t alone in this opinion due to large number of customers with laptops. Good coffee and ample electrical outlets make for a nice combination for mobile users.
Around 12:30pm, the place really started hopping as the lunch crowd moved in. All the seats were filled and even with the heat, some customers opted to go outside and eat. The sandwiches looked great and if it hadn’t been for late lunch plans, I definitely would have ordered one! During the crush, the staff seemed up to the task of serving such a large crowd and the whole place just hummed along. As soon as a table became clear, someone was over to bus the area and make it ready for the next customer.
In looking up their web site, I was surprised to learn that The Frothy Monkey is not unique to Nashville. The first Frothy Monkey was established in Ruston, Louisiana and only recently has Miranda Whitcomb, the Nashville owner, expanded their locations to include Music City. Being that I’m originally from Louisiana, learning that this is where they got their start made me feel a stronger kinship to this humble coffee house.
About the only thing I can slight the establishment is that the menu is a little bit limited and given the large number of laptop users, seating space is at a premium. They make the best use of the space that they have, but given their popularity, you might find it difficult to jack if you come during the lunch hour. Personally, I still prefer Caffeine mostly due to the fact that their menu is larger and more varied, but I can see visiting The Frothy Monkey quite a bit as an alternative. It’s definitely easier to get into and not as crushed as Bongo Java.
Overall I had a great experience. If you’re looking for a quick bite, a good cup of joe, or just a place to land for a bit with your laptop, I whole heartedly recommend trying The Frothy Monkey.