By Grace Staudenmaier
WINTER PARK—Austin’s Coffee is a small shop in Winter Park that serves coffee, tea, food, beer and wine.
Open 24/7, anyone can stop by at any time to enjoy a cup of coffee, listen to music and even play one of the many board games lying around. With food, live music, and a chance to hit the stage with their own content, lots of people have found a sense of community at this local establishment.
While Austin’s is already different from most other coffee shops in the area, the shop’s menu sets it even further apart from the pack. With a menu featuring both vegetarian and vegan options, everyone can find a bite to eat. Moreover, all coffee is certified fair trade organic and roasted right in the shop. In an attempt to remain community-centered, the produce and honey served in the shop is bought from local farms and ranches.
“To me, this is more than just a coffee shop,” jazz musician Mark Grace said. “The atmosphere, the people, the music, you can’t find this anywhere else. This is one of the places where I can just completely be who I am and I don’t feel judged for doing so.”
Each night Austin’s Coffee shop holds a different event, including concerts featuring local artists and open mic nights. Each event is devoted to a different group of artists. Another night highlights local musicians to share their music. Specialty nights each week showcase jazz, hip-hop, and, for the comedians, an open mic comedy night.
“Orlando doesn’t really have much of a culture so a place like this is awesome,” second-year college student Allison Gunnels said. “It feels like there’s some sort of a community and people here are very sociable. It’s a cool atmosphere to be in. It has this energy that just keeps me coming back.”
People of all sizes, shapes and colors can step in and feel the sense of community that keeps people coming back. Some people come to study, other’s come for the events, and some just come to meet new people.
Regardless of your interests, chances are, you’ll fit right in. Austin’s coffee shop has accomplished something very rare, patrons have said. The shop has created a place where people of all backgrounds can come together and create and share their art.
“I’ve been rapping all my life, actually about 33 years now,” hip-hop artist Danny Delamo said. “I really I wanted to express myself. A buddy of mine used to come here a lot so I started coming and performing in front of these cats. Hip-hop means everything and Austin’s is a spot that gives me a chance to share that.”