Contributed by Kelly Love Johnson, a freelance writer, editor and media consultant in Austin, TX.
Kneaded Pleasures Café & Bakery in Austin, TX.
Even though this isn’t my absolute favorite place for café working, I spend more time here than the other places in Austin because it’s about five minutes (walking distance) away from my house. Kneaded Pleasures is in a strip mall sandwiched between a CVS and a post office.
When I start to get a little stir-crazy working from home, this is a great place to go and have breakfast (amazing breakfast tacos and they also have good bagels) and get some work done. It opens at 7am and is large, so there’s always an open table. They have a lot of regulars, mostly neighborhood folks, and people are friendly, but polite if it’s clear you’re working face-in-laptop.
The staff is also friendly, even when I’ve complained about the one negative thing…
1. Rules! They have a strict rule about no computer use at their tables Monday-Friday, 11am-2pm. They turn off their wi-fi and will inform you of their policy if you still have your computer out during these hours, even if they’re not busy. It’s irritating, because sometimes I work there from 8am for breakfast and hate having to stop at 11am if I’m on a roll.
2. The food. I eat healthy and stick to egg-white omelets or wheat bagels, every now and then indulging in an egg and cheese breakfast taco. I also love their bagel & lox (with red onion, cream cheese, and capers). However, they bake on site and the whole place smells like a bakery—and you have to stand two feet away from a case full of goodies to order. Hard to resist!
3. Art. They have a huge mural of Town Lake in Austin on one wall, which is nice to look at when I’m trying to come up with the right words.
4. Caffeine. The coffee is good about 80% of the time, so it’s a little hit or miss. Sometimes it tastes like it was left over from yesterday. If you ask the person taking your order if the coffee is fresh, they always say “yes,” but I’ve brought my cup back more than once and begged to differ.
5. The staff. Since they’re rarely crowded, there’s always a table with an outlet nearby, the staff is always apologetic about their “no computer use from 11-2” policy, and they never seem bothered that I camp out with my laptop at a table that is supposed to seat four.
There’s always a strong wi-fi connection (except when they turn it off for their “lunch rush”) and I’ve never had connection problems. I also like that, unlike chains like Starbucks, I’m usually one of 2 or 3 people sitting with my laptop (instead of every single table occupied by a café-working writer). Which makes me feel less like a cliché (“Hello, I am clearly writing/a writer and wish that you would watch me do so”).
Definitely recommend for food and service; just not from 11-2 M-F!
Kneaded Pleasures, 3573 Far West Blvd., Austin, TX 78731