Hot Spot: Blondies
Coffeehouse by day and wine bar by night, this new cozy spot brings a bit of everything to Downtown.
The space at 1301 Washington Avenue has been quietly vacant for a while. Home to a few retail businesses over the last few years, this prime corner locale with fl oor-to-ceiling windows needed a change of tenants. Enter Kathleen McGowan, a Downtown resident for 12 years, whose family is no stranger to the restaurant biz. After watching Downtown evolve over the years, McGowan decided it was time to open her own place in the neighborhood she knows and loves. Thus, Blondie’s Coffee and Wine Bar was born, and with it, a cozy and charming new destination for coffee, wine, desserts and more.
WHAT’S IN A NAME
Although the restaurant’s name could mean many things—iconic Hollywood blondes, or as this sweets-obsessed food writer immediately thought, dessert—Blondie’s is a play on McGowan’s childhood nickname, the “Little Blonde Bomber.” The space has a European feel, with yellow and gold hues, high-top window seating, an espresso bar and a comfy lounge area with a fi replace. Much like the moniker implies, it’s romantic and sweet.
SHADES OF BLONDE
But, Blondie’s is really whatever you want it to be. By day, you can stop in for coffee or a smoothie, or enjoy a spinach and goat cheese souffl e from the breakfast menu, which includes a handful of paninis, souffl es and popovers, deliciously light and airy rolls that are best enjoyed with butter and jam. Come noontime, grab a casual lunch with an oven-roasted turkey, Gouda and green apple sandwich, or choose from a selection of salads, soups and artisan sandwiches. By night, the lights dim and the mood transitions; you’re more likely to fi nd a couple on a date or girls dishing over drinks than a lone java junkie on a laptop. Small plate options like cheese and charcuterie are added to the menu, as well as hummus with popover crostinis, beef tenderloin and vegetables and smoked salmon with capers.
NIGHTCAPS, THE BLONDIE WAY
If you come for dessert or drinks, you’ve struck gold; the menu is a playful list of “blonde bombshell”- named drinks, like the Lauren Becall Negroni with Tanqueray gin, Aperol, Grand Marnier, sweet vermouth and orange bitters, and the Betty Grable with 10 Cane rum, amaretto and pineapple juice. Dessert drinks include the Marilyn Monroe martini, a sweet blend of Rum Chata, vanilla vodka and Irish cream, and the decadent Jane Mansfi eld, with Serendipity Tahitian vanilla ice cream, Godiva white and dark chocolates and brandy. Plated desserts are equally satisfying. Try the chocolate pot de crème, peanut butter mousse, the signature butterscotch and toffee blondie brownie or a popover bread pudding with candied pecans and caramel. And, while the warm sofa seating by the fi replace is perfect for these dreary winter months, by spring, McGowan plans to add sidewalk seating— giving us yet another reason to visit.
Blondie’s Coffee and Wine Bar
Blondie’s Coffee and Wine Bar
Photo credit: Jennifer Silverberg