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REVIEW: Beans, bombs and broomsticks at Coffee N’ Comics

By Kyle Young
Published: Last Updated on
Cronut and coffee

Coffee N’ Comics celebrated their grand opening on Saturday, Oct. 19. The shop offers coffee, comic books, food, and pop art that will make nerds of all flavors swoon. People of all ages will find something to enjoy in the shop’s robust drink menu, ample seating and irresistible scenery.

An origin story ripe with mini-bosses

Kevin Wilfon, shop co-owner, spared a few moments of his time to speak with me. He opened the shop with his childhood friend, Alex Farside. Unbeknownst to friends and family, the shop was a twinkle in Farside’s eye for nearly five years. Steadily and quietly, Farside counted his obstacles and started knocking them down before revealing his plans to the outside world.

Seating at Coffee N' Comics
Modern, well-organized seating and decor. Image: Kaitlin Young.

Step one for Farside was to quit with his traditional nine-to-five job. Step two was to move back in with his parents. Step three was to reassure those around him that he wasn’t crazy and that he had a plan of attack in mind for his future. Step four was to sponge up coffee artistry while working as a barista. It was at this step that Wilfon observed his friend’s tenacity and offered Farside an incredible vote of support.

“Whatever you’re going to do, I want to be a part of it,” Wilfon told Farside in April 2018.

After Wilfon’s pledge of support, Farside unveiled his business plan: coffee and comics. Farside’s secrecy and sudden career change all started to make sense. Because Marvel films and nerd culture have become ubiquitous in recent years, and because adventuring with your friends is awesome, Wilfon gladly invested in Farside’s dream.

WHAT THEY SAID

By Tabitha Mueller

OPENING DAY: Baristas wearing pop culture costumes filled orders for drinks and pastries as customers chatted with one another while taking time to admire the decor and peruse through comic books.

Pooja Sheevam, a graduate student at UNR, drank a peppermint mocha and admired the shop. 

“I just like how space is conducive to hanging out here. Comics have a special place in my heart. I struggled with reading, and comics were a way to branch into that world. And this coffee is delicious,” she said.

Mari Pimental dressed up for the opening and appreciated the attention to detail. “I just love this whole theme. It’s good to nerd out,” she said.

They applied for small business loans at 25 banks before getting approved. It was a tedious, often disappointing process, recounted Wilfon.

They found their roasting partner with Counter Culture Coffee. Diamond Comic Distributors, Inc. filled the comic book vendor spot. Rounds Bakery was an easy choice for their food vendor, as the fantastic bakery resides right down the street from the shop on Moana Lane. Local favorite, Southern Hobby Supply, filled the collectible vendor spot. The partners found their digital sign and menu partner with NoviSign.

Bachelor pad, teen haven, or something else?

My wife and I popped into the shop the day after their grand opening. Upon entering, it was difficult to start our food and drink order with killer memorabilia distracting us from every angle.

Tropical storm trooper
Tropical storm trooper helmet. Image: Kaitlin Young.

Some might guess that the shop would look like a teenager’s bedroom or a middle-aged video game dungeon, but the reality is far from both.

Modern, leather seating and branded materials in black, blue, and yellow pull the place together well. The shop is well arranged with a large ordering counter to the right of the entrance, pop art retail goods along two walls, and comic books for sale above a beautiful stage in the back corner. The stage will soon be hosting storytellers, stand-up comics, and other entertainers.

Easter eggs, semi-concealed pop culture references, can be found in all the shop’s nooks and crannies.

Stage with comic book frames
A tight shot of the shop stage. Image: Kaitlin Young.

Highly attractive metal posters from Displate feature fan favorites from genres of all types. Depictions of Mikey (TMNT), Wonder Woman, Vegeta, Black Panther, the Millennium Falcon, Deadpool, Captain Marvel, Mario, Baby Groot, Thanos, and Spiderman can be purchased in the coffee shop with partial proceeds going to the artist.

The collectibles also run the gamut with Funko Pop figures, Harry Potter Scrabble (with special turn-based cards!), ornate stormtrooper helmets, and a wide assortment of others. I took a liking to a rubber spatula adorned with a Dalek.

Comic books
Comic books old and new. Image: Kaitlin Young.

Patrons of the shop are free to browse through all the unsealed comic books. Sealed comic books are available for purchase.

No one exposed me to comic books as a kid, so I never really developed a taste for the part literary, part visual art medium. I asked Wilfon for advice on how I should approach finding a comic niche that I’d enjoy. He suggested that I work backwards from television and movies that I enjoy. His advice served me well when I discovered that one of my favorite television series, Star Trek: The Next Generation, has an accompanying comic book series.

Eats and drinks at Coffee N’ Comics

As previously mentioned, the shop serves food prepared by Rounds Bakery. Available for sale are breakfast croissants, breakfast burritos, bagels, sandwiches, salads, and an assortment of baked goods including cronuts (croissant-doughnut hybrids). Wilfon recommends the coffee cake for anyone unsure of which baked good to select.

Lemon cronut and TNG? Yes, please. Image: Kaitlin Young.

The drink menu, while still under construction, features offerings from far and wide. Exotic chai teas from David Rio, the lavender latte, and the London Fog (Earl grey tea, frothed milk, and vanilla syrup) caught my eye. A variety of child-friendly drinks are available on the kid’s menu.

My wife ordered a small London Fog for $2.55. Neither of us had heard of the drink before, but it will definitely be in our regular rotation moving forward. The foamy milk, strong tea, and touch of sweetness were fantastic.

Bacon, egg and cheese croissant sandwich and lavender latte.
Bacon, egg, and cheese croissant sandwich and lavender latte.
Image: Kaitlin Young.

I ordered the bacon, egg & cheddar croissant for $5.95, a cronut for $2.50, a small lavender latte for $4.15 and a small drip coffee for $2.25.

The sandwich won’t win any awards as it was missing the crisp, flaky layers characteristic of croissants. The bacon was thin and tender. The egg and cheese were both adequate. Reheating via microwave is likely the culprit of the soggy bottom. A splash of Tapatio shifted the sammy more to my liking.

Hulk hand
Hulk smashed. Image: Kaitlin Young.

The crew behind the counter didn’t know what cronut flavors they had in their case. It looked to me like the flavors were German chocolate, chocolate raspberry, and lemon white chocolate. I opted for the lemon. I enjoyed the flaky pastry, but it bordered on cloying.

My lavender latte was excellent. It had a nice amount of foam, and the barista went easy on the lavender syrup. I really liked the subtlety of the lavender.

Really tasty coffee from Counter Culture

My small cup of medium-roast drip coffee was the tastiest thing that I tried. It tasted of stone fruit and the fragrance was delightful.

The shop’s combination of literary art, visual art, nostalgia, and fine beverages will keep me coming back.

Details

Visit Coffee N’ Comics at 940 W. Moana Lane, Suite 104, Reno, Nevada 89509. They are open daily from 5:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Reach them by phone at 775-453-1354. Visit them online at coffeencomics.com.

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