With midterms in full swing and finals coming up, most of us students may feel like our brains have reached full capacity. Engaging in learning certainly didn’t sound enjoyable, but after visiting 1418 Coffee House, a homey cafe in downtown Plano, we came to the conclusion that as long as we can get some good quality coffee and be surrounded by art in a bustling yet relaxing atmosphere, studying can be tolerable.
With an array of vintage turquoise tiles lining the ceiling, warm Edison bulbs casting a glow over tables, worn-in mismatched couches, bikes with heartwarming messages mounted on the wall and other quirky art pieces, the decor is exemplary of the modern farmhouse aesthetic but also induces nostalgia. Although its decor alone makes the restaurant memorable, the coffee and bakery items are certainly noteworthy too.
Although the restaurant’s menu is a short list, its drinks and bakery items are well done. Each item is specially selected and has been perfected after many years. Every latte, pastry and sandwich has a homemade feel to it. Trying any of their food and drink options leaves customers coming back, but for the new customers, the encompassing aroma of roasted coffee beans and baked goods is enough of a lure.
After going over the fittingly simple menu, we decided to order one of the signatures, the Purple Haze latte. The warm drink, served with a floral design atop it, has vanilla and lavender notes in it alongside the roast of coffee flavor. Sweetened just the right amount, this drink was perfect for me, someone who cannot handle black coffee. The mix of the coffee aroma, subtle flavors, creamy milk and light sweetness made for a drink that can be universally enjoyed.
Encompassing the interior design and menu options is the concept of creating a second home for every community member that steps through the doors. This is a reputation that creative director Paul has worked hard at creating and upkeeping. As the creative director, Paul handles most of the visuals that are associated with 1418 Coffee. He takes and edits pictures in order to promote anything from new menu items to upcoming events. With only a couple months of experience, Paul is a relatively new hire. That being said, he had been a regular at 1418 Coffee for around four years prior. From the first impression, he knew he wanted to return.
“The coffee of course was appealing, but then also the people and the atmosphere too,” Paul said. “I came once and there’s just something about the vibe. You know, it just kind of feels ‘right’ in here.”
Once Paul changed over from a regular customer to staff, he had a renewed perspective on 1418 Coffee.
“My favorite part about working for 1418 goes back to the people,” Paul said. “Especially whenever someone comes in and it’s their first time and you welcome them. Then you get
to see people go from first-timers to regulars. There are people here who you see almost every day and you start to get to know them. You get to know them personally and then they just become friends. Then you start to feel like ‘Yeah, I’m serving people coffee, but I’m also having really good coffee with friends all day.’”
Watching the staff serenade the customers sitting within a close proximity, bust out some subtle dance moves to the retro music and poke fun at each other, it’s clear to see that the friendly smiling faces at the counter are a part of the experience.
“There’s very much a home-away-from-home feeling in here,” Paul said. “Come talk to us, we love talking to people.”
Judging by the lack of empty seats and the ongoing hum of conversation, the staff appear to never have a shortage of people to talk to. Although the cafe is certainly thriving now, the restaurant had previously struggled with visibility.
“We’re in the downtown Plano area, which is a really great area, but it also has some of its own limitations,” Paul said. “This strip is less lively than other parts of downtown Plano. It wasn’t until a few months ago back in April that we redid the whole front. Ever since we’ve been able to redo it, it’s become noticeable. That’s probably when people started to notice this place a lot more.”
With struggle and growth,1418 Coffee House was able to get themselves on the map in a short period of time, and they intend to stay there right on 1418 K Avenue.
All in all, our short time at 1418 Coffee House was certainly memorable. The interior design, crafted menu items and welcoming staff were experiences Iwe would like to repeat. However, the drive over is not ideal for students without a car. We would recommend trying this concept at least once if you would like a warm welcome. After you visit, any homesickness that you might have had will disappear.