If you look up 2401 E. Admiral Blvd. on Google Maps, you’ll see a nondescript brick building with boarded up windows bearing a white insignia stating that it is the site for Tulsa Group Meetings for Alcoholics Anonymous.
That picture was taken less than a year ago, in May 2014. If you visit the same address now, you’ll find a sleek, minimalist coffee shop. You’ll be looking straight at the newest face of Kendall-Whittier’s revival, Hoot Owl Coffee.
Co-owner Jeff Pelt mentioned that renovating the building was a long and arduous process. One of the walls had a circle scrawled over it in hard-to-remove marker detailing the struggles of the AA members that had once met there. A suspended ceiling had to be removed to expose a top layer of vintage windows that had not seen the light of day in decades.
Nevertheless, the building has been transformed today into a light, airy and artfully arranged space for customers to enjoy coffee and a bit of conversation.
The owners succeeded in making a space that could have felt oversized and impersonal instead feel marvelously open. Particularly of note is the Hoot Owl packaging area, which is separated from the rest of the area by nothing more than a piece of rope.
Adding to this vibe is the minimalist menu which contains neither Triple Frappa Mochas nor drinks named after books. Customers can choose between “latte,” “cappuccino” and “tea” (offered in two varieties when we visited, green and oolong).
Don’t let the minimalism put you off; the quality of the drinks is exceptional. The oolong tea had just the right combination of crispness and richness. The espresso had a distinct and sharp flavor, and while perhaps not a drink to be recommended for those who usually enjoy their coffee with additions like steamed milk and sugar, it was definitely an adventurous coffee experience.
Hoot Owl’s staff was very friendly. Though we did not indicate our intention to review the restaurant until the end of our visit, they were pleasant and delightedly answered our questions about the history of the building and the opening of the new location.
Located just across the corner from the Circle Cinema and Calaveras Mexican Grill, Hoot Owl is a welcome addition to the newly thriving Kendall-Whittier community, providing a comfy place to sit back, study and get your caffeine fix.