When the downtown Bradenton coffee shop Tellers closed last year and the lease on the space became available, Eleni Sokos and her partner, Jason Simpson, acted quickly.
"It all happened so fast," says Sokos. "We had no concept, we had no money, but the lease became available and we took it."
Tellers was located in an old bank that had been converted into a fun outdoor café, where you would walk up and order from an old bank teller window and then lounge in a driveway that had been turned into an inviting hangout space. Sokos, who runs a marketing agency, and Simpson, who previously worked for a craft beer distributor, rechristened the space Kefi Streetside Cafe and opened for business earlier this year.
Kefi makes a variety of coffee drinks with Buddy Brew beans and, for food, offers pastries, bagels, avocado toasts and a Greek yogurt parfait. Plans call for the café to add lunch items like salads, wraps and bowls in early 2022.
Sokos calls the menu "Greek-inspired," and you can taste that in Kefi's "Fancy Like" avocado toast ($10), which accentuates your typical toast with chopped sundried tomatoes and kalamata olives, crumbles of feta, a drizzle of olive oil and a dusting of oregano. Pair it with an invigorating espresso soda ($5), made with coffee, blood orange juice and sparkling water, and you've got yourself a nice breakfast.
You can take your food and drink with you, but they taste even better when enjoyed at one of the café's shaded outdoor tables, surrounded by greenery and flowers and a cheery, brightly colored mural. Located between the central hub of downtown Bradenton and Village of the Arts, Kefi is a walkable destination that Sokos hopes helps connect residents and people who work in and visit the area.
Sokos says she and Simpson want to offer customers a break from anxiety and stress at a time when many feel overwhelmed or burned out. "We wanted to make a space where people could come and not worry about their day," she says.
Kefi Streetside Cafe is located at 1201 Sixth Ave. W., Bradenton, and is open 7 a.m.-3 p.m. Monday-Friday and 8 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday. For more info, call (941) 896-2282 or visit the café's website.