Want to know what it's like to open a restaurant in the middle of a pandemic? Just ask the ownership trio behind Kith & Co. The Oakland Park coffee shop/cocktail bar/eatery hybrid made its debut in Switchbox Coffee Roasters' old location on April 26. The opening is the culmination of years of collective coffee prowess, months of remodeling, and a few weeks of coronavirus-related pause.
"The pandemic certainly affected our timeline," says co-owner Mikaela Schipani. "We had gone through the interview process and hired a full staff, but then COVID got serious right after we hired everyone. So we had to take a few weeks and, during that time, took the precautions needed to ultimately keep our employees and everyone safe."
Schipani and business partners Joel Carpenter and Monique Huntington Keitz had worked together at another South Florida coffee institution and wanted to create something that was truly their own. They acquired the Switchbox space late last year, then began remodeling.
"We want to be a one-stop shop, whether by day or night, for our community," Schipani says. "We want to learn our customers' names and get to know them. This is a big neighborhood, so we've been introducing ourselves where we can. We consider the hospitality aspect to be a huge part of this."
The Kith & Co. vibe is cozy, welcoming, and speakeasy-esque, with bursts of green and gold throughout, accented by multicolored floral arrangements. Anchoring the coffee bar is a beyond-snazzy green-and-gold La Marzocco espresso machine and two sleek white Nuova Simonelli bean grinders.
The corner where Switchbox's massive roaster was housed is now an intimate cocktail bar whose menu includes concoctions like the Thoroughbred (spiced rum, sparkling wine, lime and pomegranate juices, bitters, and cane sugar).
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On the coffee front, Kith & Co. serves a variety of Counter Culture blends and single-origin coffees. Drinks include cappuccinos ($4.50), lattes ($5), and a brilliantly blue Butterfly Latte ($5) finished with some of the most precise latte art you'll see anywhere. (The Butterfly is a caffeine-free drink that's made with pea flower powder, house-made vanilla simple syrup, and the milk of your choice.)
The menu is a work in progress that so far includes a variety of waffles, quiches, flatbreads, and baked goods. There's also a weekly produce basket on offer, priced at $30. In addition to curbside pickup, Kith & Co. offers delivery via Uber Eats.
"The first day we opened, it was very busy," Schipani says. "We've been so grateful for the community support thus far and traffic has been consistent. We know a lot of people were waiting for something to go in this space and here we are."
Kith & Co. 3446 NE 12th Ave., Oakland Park; 954-999-0662; kithco.coffee. Open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Market basket orders must be placed by 4. pm. Thursday for Saturday pickup.