By Lara Berendt
I think I’ve found a new favorite coffee joint in Bennu. Located at 2001 E. MLK Blvd., this 24-hour java lounge reminds me of Epoch, but with friendlier, happier baristas and fewer sulky hipster-types glaring from behind laptops.
The clientele at Bennu, at least on Saturday morning when I was there, consisted mainly of students and professionals, and the owners advertise the lounge as an always-open study haven close to UT. The decor is a charming mishmash of old and new, with plenty of tables and an almost obscene number of power outlets.
A particular highlight was the bathroom, spotless and chic, complete with decorative river stones in the sink and a huge chalkboard inside the stall, which was artfully graffitied with inspirational quotes about how great it is to be a woman. I’m serious. It might sound cheesy but it was actually lovely.
I was pleased to have a choice of several iced teas, and I chose one of the green varieties they offered, which was tasty and refreshing. The cappuccino was, unfortunately, not impressive—an over-steamed layer of foam indicating that it just wasn’t made properly. But how could I be mad at those jolly, smiling baristas?
They also have a lengthy menu of specialty mocha drinks, named after literary classics (the Pride and Prejudice, the Great Gatsby, etc.). Swoon! Prices were average, and food included the usual pizzas (from Hoboken Pie), sandwiches, wraps, bagels and pastries. This morning, I ran in for an iced coffee and Torchy’s breakfast taco, which were both satisfactory.
The shop also has a cute patio with quite a few tables and, again, a ton of power outlets. They recycle, and support local and fair-trade vendors. There’s definitely room for improvement in the coffee drinks, as many Yelp reviewers have noted, but overall, I’m smitten with Bennu.