Manasota Key Fl (Storch Report) — “I had a dream,” Niki Gill told me after asking her how her new coffee house came about and that dream has now come true.
The personality of Niki readily fits the affable outgoing people-person she is and is well reflected in the charming ambiance she created at the Manasota Key Coffee House.
Located a few blocks North of the Englewood Public beach on the bay side of the Key, she refurbished a commercial building on North Beach Rd., that was empty for several years and needed renovation.
The exterior and especially the interior now equipped with Wi-Fi for those that can’t part with their cell phones or computers for any length of time reflects the love she put into her entrepreneurial dream right down to the logo she designed for her love of coffee.
“I love people, I love Manasota Key,” and she describes her passion in creating her unique menu in the same way.
The interior is gracious and welcoming. To the left of the entry is a homey seating area in front of a fireplace where you can review the ample menu and a table full of reading material. The cathedral ceiling is adorned with wooden beams, and the lighting adds to the brightness, but warmth giving off an open an airy feeling.
Dead ahead is the ordering and paying station; ice cream, pastry, drinks and cookie station where the Starbucks paradigm is employed requesting you to place your order, pay for your meal pick up your utensils, napkins and then select your seat. Staff will deliver your meal when it is ready and they will more than accommodate the elderly and handicapped if they need assistance. However, you are expected to clear your table and dispose of your trash on the way out.
To the right of this station is a modern galley where the food is freshly prepared. The walls are decorated with the paintings of local artist Carroll Swayze along with trinkets, all of which are available for purchase.
There is seating indoors and out for 107 at attractive wicker tables and chairs for four; outdoor seating is available on a roof screened-in veranda overlooking Lemon Bay which can accommodate 28, all protected from the sun and heat with circulating fans.
The breakfast menu ranges from a variety of muffins with all green gourmet coffee to a Belgium Monte Crisco waffle — which includes ham, swiss, turkey, dusted w/powdered sugar w/strawberry or blueberries and cream cheese.
If you are a breakfast lover, the variety is here from a Manasota Key love bagel with smoked salmon and cream cheese, tomato and onion to an Apples Normandy Waffle in honor of the Vets of the greatest generation, which consists of sliced apples, whipped cream, dusted w/powdered sugar.
If some of these breakfasts sound like dessert they are, and could even come with a scoop of Big Olaf ice cream if you wish, and don’t forget the smoothies, made with Vanilla, Greek Yogurt — there’s Mango, Strawberry, Blueberry, and Orange.
If you’re big on breakfast or brunch, no worries, Niki serves these epicurean delights all day long. A touch of Brennan’s from the French Quarter in New Orleans right here on Manasota Key.
I’m all calorie-d-out just writing about this. I attended a few of the soft openings Niki held; at the first I had a gourmet iced tea, and a tuna sandwich on toasted wheat with potato salad, it was delicious.
During the second visit with guests, we had: Niki’s, A Great Hot Dog with Kraut and slaw while guests enjoyed the Asian Sesame salad and Shrimp Corn Chowder soup and half of a Tuna salad sandwich. It was thumb’s up all around the table.
During my chats with Niki during the soft openings held prior to a scheduled grand opening on November 2, she not only showed a passion for her creative menu, as she well should, highlighting to me A Great Hot Dog consisting of 1/2 beef gluten free dog w/either Kraut, Chili with beans, or the I love Manasota Key Meatball Sub, which consists of marinara sauce and provolone cheese, among a variety of other sandwiches all served with either potato salad, slaw, pasta salad or potato chips. Niki also serves Soup, which changes daily, and a half sandwich — ham, turkey, tuna, shrimp salad, chicken salad, egg salad on white, wheat or rye with your choice of provolone, Swiss, and American. There’s also a Garden Burger with lettuce, tomato, mayo, onion on Ciabatta bread and a variety of salads.
Niki, a Mom of four, served our government for 10 years in the Federal Aviation Administration and Homeland Security, and was an on-camera host and producer of ‘I live you Florida,’ a lifestyle TV show from Naples. Today Niki is living her entrepreneurial America Dream.
There’s something for everyone at the Manasota Key Coffee House at all times and as the name implies a variety of coffee; it’s open seven days a week between the hours of 8 AM to 4 PM. During the soft openings, locals welcomed the charming addition and told Niki how “excited” they were for her, all echoing, “I’ll be back” after sampling the gourmet food.
And, it’s predicted that snowbirds will find a palatable surprise to add to their dining pleasure when they return to the Key and find Niki’s place. Bon Appetit.