O Squared Eats: Quills Coffee

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Olivia Dawson

Welcome to the first installment of O Squared Eats, a series of food reviews based on quality, affordability and accessibility to teens, brought to you by Olivia Dawson and Olivia Evans. This week’s review is of Quills Coffee in Cardinal Towne.

Quills Coffee, with locations at the University of Louisville’s Cardinal Towne and at Baxter Avenue, is a beloved local coffee shop for Manual and University of Louisville students alike. The owners Nathan and Gabe Quill loved places of culture that included coffee spots, so they remodeled the original building and met with many students to discover many new, different ways of brewing that people wanted. In 2007 the building process was finished and Quills opened its doors for the first time.

We had an iced latte, a chocolate coconut cupcake, a latte and a chocolate chip cookie.
We had an iced latte, a chocolate coconut cupcake, a latte and a chocolate chip cookie.

Olivia Dawson: Flocks of Manual kids walk the short distance to Cardinal Towne every day after school, looking for a place to eat a snack or do some homework before a practice or rehearsal. The area restaurants are generally franchised, with Quills as the exception. It stands out because it is a small, local chain that offers peace and quiet while doing work. With a wide menu including every thing from lattes to scones, there’s something at Quills to please everyone.

If you want to be alone or get some work done, this is a great place to sip coffee and type away on your laptop, while using one of the many outlets. If you want to bring a friend, make sure to keep the conversation low to not disturb other people. The environment is pretty peaceful, with only a soft hum of talking underneath the Ramones CD, among others, that you can hear the baristas playing on an average Friday afternoon.

There are a few small disadvantages of Quills. The bathroom is shared by the other restaurants at Cardinal Towne, so it requires patrons to walk down a hallway, and there may be a waiting time. Also, there’s limited parking between this whole strip of restaurants. There’s a parking lot across the street at a bank and some other small stores, but it can fill up quickly and it’s not like you’re dealing with a long walk from the senior lot. Don’t be surprised if you have to walk. The baristas are polite and helpful based on my experience, even when I wanted clarification on what some of the drink titles meant. There were only two behind the counter that day, yet my drink was prepared just seconds after I had situated myself at the table. Quills is ideal even for getting a drink to-go.

I ordered the latte and chocolate chip cookie. The coffee was served piping hot and took a few minutes to cool down to a reasonable temperature for me. It was rich and creamy, and the barista even made cute latte art with the foam. The latte was sweet enough, but still had that slight, bitter note that defines espresso. The cookie wasn’t warm, but we were there at 3p.m., so they probably baked it in the morning. However, the chocolate chips were still huge and gooey, taking up most of the large cookie. It wasn’t too crunchy or chewy, and it was a nice complement to the latte. It was a good snack to satisfy my sweet tooth without sparing much change. My latte and cookie were only $4.76, which is the price of one drink at Starbucks. Overall, I would rate Quills a 4 out of 5 stars.

Olivia Evans: The reason to go to Quills is to enjoy some delectable coffee in a quiet, serene environment, perfect for studying. Quills specializes in espressos and seasonal drinks along with sweet and savory pastries. While at Quills I ordered a non-fat decaf iced vanilla latte and a chocolate coconut cupcake. The food was quite scrumptious. The cupcake was very rich with a strong flavor combination. The frosting was a very sweet cream style with a hint of citrus zest to level the sweetness. The chocolate was very thick and rich, but when combined with the frosting it was a more subtle taste. The iced coffee was perfectly sweetened and didn’t need any added sugar or aspartame. Another plus of the coffee was that the vanilla was not overpowering and I was still able to taste the coffee itself. For both my coffee and cupcake it cost only $7.23, making it very affordable as compared to chain coffee shops.

The baristas at Quills were very friendly and helpful. They also explained their menu in a way that even coffee-amateurs would understand. The service was extremely speedy. Quills had an old industrial style with a bit of hipster flair, perfect for drawing the attention of students. Free wifi access and plenty of outlets around the cafe allows for students and business people to easily boot up while enjoying their drinks. There were many abstract art pieces on the wall, along with posters advertising local events. The alternative music playing softly adds to Quills’ unique flair. The only major flaw of the cafe was the tables. The tables were old, scraggly and needed some serious refurbishing. I would rate Quill’s 4 out of 5 stars.