La Florida Coffee & Wine Bar is good news for downtown Tallahassee

white cup hot coffee
'Our goal is to get people to loosen ties, appreciate fine coffee, wine and hors d’oeuvres in relaxed company.'

Jean Uthmeier has long envisioned a local gathering place where customers could find fresh-roasted coffee, homemade bread and pastries, and a welcome glass of wine after work. The result: La Florida Coffee & Wine Bar, which is opening in the former Starbucks in Kleman Plaza, good news for downtown Tallahassee.

The space has been vacated since March when Tallahassee Community College decided to close the Starbucks branch, which it built and operated.

La Florida will launch its soft opening on February 22 with a grand opening planned for early March.

Uthmeier, the owner of the shop, is a home baker who is known for her sourdough, cakes and other baked goods. With her sister-in-law, Julia Swanson, who will be the shop’s manager, she’ll offer breakfast sammies and lunch sandwiches on freshly baked bread, along with pound cakes — choices include blueberry, lemon, guava and seasonal flavors — muffins, cookies and croissants.

The shop will also offer single-origin coffee roasted locally, with espresso-based drinks and decaf available. Other beverages will include mimosas and wine.

“Our goal is to get people to loosen ties, appreciate fine coffee, wine and hors d’oeuvres in relaxed company, and view downtown Tallahassee as something more than a work destination,” said Uthmeier, who, on Monday, was working on the last-minute touches to the shop, which will have 10 employees.

The name of the cafe reflects her love of travel and history, said Uthmeier, who has visited 27 countries in her former job as an account manager for a travel company.

“It’s a beautiful name and I think people like it,” she said.

With travel halted, “it was a beautiful window for me to express my passion for food and people and culture in Tallahassee,” she said. While so many businesses are closing their doors, she thinks customers are aware of how to be careful and safe in public spaces. For those who don’t want to linger inside, there will be outdoor seating.

Either way, the idea, said Uthmeier, is “providing simple, healthy and fresh nourishment, where friends can break bread and quench thirst together.”

Location: Kleman Plaza, 300 W. Pensacola St.

Hours: 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday to Friday and 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday.

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Rochelle Koff is a writer and blogger for Tallahassee Table.

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