This post was Day 36 of the 100 Days Project, 2014
Craft Kitchen is an organic, gourmet sort of cafe which opened near the corner of Ponsonby and Great North Roads a bit over a month ago. The first week it was in business I went in to get a little something on a Friday afternoon. The cafe was virtually empty apart from a couple in the far corner. A desultory sort of bleach-blonde was making three coffees with elaborate precision. Looking around for treats, I saw very little beneath the counter glass, and a super-limited menu. I decided in that moment that Craft Kitchen was utterly hipster in a passive-aggressive 'our taste is utterly always better than yours so feel diminished' kind of way. If not for a feeling of light-headedness stemming from consumption of an ill-advised frozen margarita with lunch, I probably would have fled.
Instead, like a deer in the proverbial, I waited for service The barista finished her labour over the coffees and looked up. Like the old hospo war-horse I am, I suggested she take the coffees out to their respective customers. She replied that they were for the people working in the kitchen. And in that moment, I took agin her. It's bad form to leave customers standing if you're making something for another staff member. Instinct was duly rewarded when she went on to charge me $12 for two unpriced yoyos. Again, if I hadn't been somewhat anaesthetised by the margarita I would have said something, but instead I just stood there stupidly, before paying and leaving. I stood some more at the corner, blinking in disbelief and nearly went back, but felt it would be bad form since I'd failed to complain at point of sale. When I got home, I discovered one of the yoyos didn't even have any icing in the middle. Reader, it took the rest of the afternoon to recover.
Fast forward six weeks. It's Friday afternoon and I'm returning home from the dairy with some chewy lollies, trying anything possible to get myself started on a job involving speadsheets and data management. As you can see, Friday afternoons are not my finest hour. Possibly with this in mind I decide to try Craft Kitchen again - the weather is shit, I have a cold and it's the closest place to get a coffee. Resistance is futile.
There are two people behind the counter this time and they seem kind of dishevelled in an 'I've been working out the back' kind of way. I soon discover this is because they have. I order a soy decaf latte which is a bitch to make, but there's no attitude and the price is less than what I pay at my usual cafe. Emboldened by their general air of slightly confuzzled affability I relate the story of my first encounter with Craft Kitchen. It turns out they're the owners. My coffee is free and they press another $2 upon me to make it completely even. The barista laughs aloud over the $12 yoyos. The nice counter guy introduces himself and relates some of the challenges involved in starting a business. It turns out the bleach-blonde barista was 'let go' more than month ago, after a raft of customer complaints. We chat some more and I leave with my coffee and the promise of a hot toddy on the weekend if one is required.
It's a cliche well-coined and redolent of Aesop, but first impressions are worth revisiting. I'll definitely be back.