How many times have you been told, “If you want a good, really good, cup of coffee go to North Wilkesboro, North Carolina? Not often, I’ll bet. Well, I’m telling you now!
North Wilkesboro is the home of Talia Espresso. Has been for the past eight years. Click here to see their website. But you’ll have to visit to be sure that I’m not exaggerating here. They serve really good coffee. Best I’ve ever had, in fact. Even including the remarkable brews served in Japan’s coffee shops during the early 1960s.
Jim and Kathy Kozak have created a remarkable institution here. They’re both originally from Detroit, Michigan. Long-time North Wilkesboro residents now. By choice, not by accident of birth.
Click this button to hear them explain why they chose North Wilkesboro, North Carolina, to site their bistro. The sound is terrible. All my fault. But Jim and Kathy spend all day, every day except Sunday, working in their shop. So, if you want to interview them you’ll have to do it there. (That has to be the Detroit Sound you hear in the background.)
Their effort shows. Here are a couple photos of the dining area. Comfortable, roomy, and inviting. It’s the sort of place where parents can walk by, see their teenage children sitting inside at a table, and be pleased to have them there.
My photos never come out the way they should. But click on each one and you should get the general idea. Talia is a comfortable place. It feels like a living room with room service! Oh, and with WiFi.
Another interesting point is the diversity of clientele. Teenagers, parents with small children, professional adults, and even folks older than me. In their 70s and 80s. All appeared to be comfortable and enjoying their coffee and sandwiches.
Did I mention food? Most of the high-end coffee shops I’ve visited offer sweet rolls and cookies with their coffee. That sort of thing. At eye-popping prices, usually. At Talia Kathy and Jim – mainly Kathy’s cooking, I suspect – have full breakfast and lunch menus. Prices too were surprisingly low.
If after reading about Talia you’re inspired to rush out and open your own coffee shop, you’d better listen to Jim describe what it takes to succeed. Pay special attention to the number of hours he and Kathy have to work each week to maintain the quality and environment. Success doesn’t just happen.
A final point. Both times I visited Talia two teen-agers were working beside Kathy and Jim behind the counter. Preparing and serving coffee and food. One boy and one girl. Both were the sorts of youngsters you’d be pleased to have your child bring home for a visit. So I asked Jim and Kathy where they found their employees. Give a listen here.
So there you have it. The Talia Espresso bistro in North Wilkesboro, North Carolina. Best coffee I’ve ever had, and an inspiration to visit. It’s worth the trip. Though don’t go on Sundays. Jim and Kathy have more important things to do on that day. If you’re in a hurry you could stop at the drive-through out on 421. Jim assures me the coffee there’s the same quality as that served on Main Street. I’ll stick to the Main Street location, though. It’s a great place to visit.