Zolli Koffee, Nashville, TN
701 8th Ave S, Nashville, TN 37203
I’m bringing it back to central downtown Nashville. While I was on Avenue S and wandering my way through Nashville on my first day, I found a coffee shop in an unexpected nook. The time was about 5 PM and I was really walking though town in an effort to find a good place to eat dinner, but I can’t resist an independent coffee shop and I definitely couldn’t ignore the mannequin outside.
Into Zolli Coffee I went!
Zolli Coffee is right next door to Jackelope Brewing Company. In fact, the two are more than just neighbors. They share spaces. Zolli’s main seating is in a large area between the two restaurants that’s filled with high bar tops. I’d say there’s about equal beer and coffee being had by its dwellers.
The shop is very friendly to the bike community; they not only have an easy-to-use bike stand for locking up, but they also offer a tire repair station and a ten percent discount to bike riders, Of note, that’s in addition to the discounts offered to uniformed service members and folks who bring their own cups.
Zolli brews coffee from a well known Nashville roaster: Bongo Java. Bongo has been around 25 years and has become a staple within music city. They have also been working towards becoming certified in free-trade, but their already executing that philosophy in everything but name (more on Bongo found here). Zolli offers their single origins for drip coffees and a select espresso for their espresso-based coffees.
Similar to other new-wave coffee shops, Zolli makes their own syrups in house and offer a made-in-shop chai. I opted for a 10 oz latte to take to go for the afternoon. Given the eclectic nature of the shop, I wasn’t sure what I was going to get, but it was tasty! No bad pours here and the staff was friendly.
As you can see in the picture above, there are a few food offerings. The shop is a true family affair; Zolli owns and manages the store, his Mom bakes the sweet treats and his brother specializes in their specialty rice krispies! There’s also a light menu that includes paninis and hot breakfast sandwiches for those looking for something more savory.
I had to snap pictures of the rest of the shop to capture its diverse decor. Every shelf and crevice was filled with Dolly Parton prayer candles, old-school mugs, locally drawn artwork, small snippets of post-it note side drawings and plenty of cacti!
There’s sidewalk seating that would be enjoyable in the warmer months and the tree out front was in perfect bloom. In addition to the mannequin, the speckled retro tile on the storefront make this easy to spot on what is a busy city thoroughfare.
I’d recommend Zolli to folks who are looking for a quick bite or coffee. It’s got a long communal table for large group gatherings in its shared space, but the coffee shop seems best suited for people on the go.