bite-sized

Get Down to Great Coffee

Plaza surfing on the Southside just got a much-needed, locally owned jolt

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There's a new coffee spot in Jax, with a one-two punch: a great menu and quality coffee. Brass Tacks, a bright, airy space on Southside Boulevard, is across the street from that chain-whose-name-we-dare-not-speak, close enough to compete (go local, y'all!). Zip in and out the drive-thru (locals will remember it fondly from its days as Bad Ass Coffee Co.) for a strong cup to will get you pumped to start your day or keep it going.

The taste of Brass Tacks coffee engages the palate and the presentation captures the eye. Lattes and cups ($2) are offered in a nice heavy cup and saucer. Quite frankly, these fresh beans, roasted right here in town, deserve nothing less and neither do you. There's local beer from Veterans United Craft Brewery (another Southside business) and Gnarbooch kombucha ($4) on tap, too, so there's something for every kind of preference.

The breakfast menu has great sweet and savory options. I'm always up for a good breakfast sandwich ($5), particularly when you can add bacon or sausage, like at Brass Tacks. The biscuits (served before noon) are sturdy enough for a sandwich, which I like, since I believe using a knife and fork on a traditionally handheld delight is blasphemy. The eggs, studded with chives, are tucked in a cheesy blanket. It's a hearty way to break your fast, with or without the meat.

I'm not usually much of a waffle woman, but I rolled the dice with the Matcha Waffles ($5.50). Holy smokes! These babies will tame your gnawing hunger, with a powerhouse of flavor. I'll order the green monster set before me again and again. Thanks to the fresh matcha (aka green tea), you get two squares of crisp, vivid green waffles, hot off the press. No frivolous whipped cream here; useless when you greet the day with a serious scoop of Greek yogurt and sweet, chunky berry compote. Add a crunch of granola and a drizzle of honey, and you're set for one heck of a bite. This may not be an ideal on-the-go meal, but it's worth taking time to give it a try.

Brass Tacks' pastry case displays a variety of yummies, some vegan. The large cinnamon rolls ($2.75) aren't overly sweet, and the friendly staff is happy to warm them up. It's nice that there's a vegan selection, but I can't really recommend the vegan pastries. I'm not vegan and can't speak for those who rarely get sweet treats, but it must be nice to find them here. The lavender pound cake ($2.50) and mini rhubarb Bundt ($2.50) were gummy and flavor-impaired.

Southsiders and Green Cove Springers, make it a priority to check out these coffee spots. As the busy folks at Brass Tacks say, "Stay sharp."

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If you have a recommendation, shoot me an email.

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