Photo by Christophile Konstas
This piece has a cheeseball headline, I know, but it’s not half as cheesy as the grin on my face when I heard that Christophile Konstas was opening a destined-to-be-brilliant coffee shop, Perk! Coffee + Lunchbox, in Bon Air. Visions of sugar plums — and her house-made Greek yogurt parfaits — sincerely danced in my head. This particular section of South Side has long needed more slurpably delicious caffeine, and the fact that it will be doled out alongside treats by some of the best bakers in town — Konstas and partners Jay Metzler and Elizabeth Ellen — is cause for riotous excitement. Bonuses: Metzler hails from Jo’s Coffee in Austin, Texas, and Ellen’s a graphic designer, hence their super-cute logo.
Perk!, expected to open in February, is tucked snugly into the same shopping center as the legendary Buford Road Pharmacy and promises to be an oasis for all kinds of people, even the tiniest ones. There’s a gated kids’ area with books, drawing tables, a toy kitchen and a waist-high wall so that parents can detach themselves from their offspring for a few minutes while they grab a coffee and get some work done. Or, better yet, have conversations with adults that aren’t peppered with “that’s a good boy” or “please stop licking that.”
Great coffee from lots of local roasters will abound so that customers can taste-test Blanchard’s, Lamplighter, Adbibo, Black Hand and more. “We want to offer our customers choices,” Konstas says. “[Perk will be] a place where people can try things out … kind of like a tasting room.” And they’ll offer some killer add-ons, like house-made, seasonal creamers (pumpkin for fall, mocha peppermint for winter, and I’m gunning for a Peep flavor for spring). If we’re all very good girls and boys, they might even make their own almond milk from scratch one day.
In the food arena, treats like brown-butter chocolate chip cookies, shortbread, whole wheat raisin scones, melomakarona (Greek honey-soaked walnut cookies) and cinnamon coffee cake are on deck. Savory options will include egg cups in puff pastry, light sandwiches and a daily soup and salad. Vegan and gluten-free folks will have options, too: Perk will stock Anna B’s and Nettie’s Naturally products. Oh, and seriously, the house-made Greek yogurt. Insane. This, incidentally, is Konstas’ idea of “starting simple,” so I can’t imagine what she’s dreaming up for the future.
As of a soon-to-be-announced date in February, Perk will be open seven days a week from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., with slightly varied hours on the weekends. Three cheers for Bon Air!