Dish & Drink KC: Fall semester study spots at Whistle Stop Coffee & Mercantile and Novella

Rosemary Pistachio Iced Latte And Salted Caramel Chocolate Chip Cookie At Whistle Stop Coffee Mercantile Horizontal

Rosemary Pistachio Iced Latte and Salted Caramel Chocolate Chip Cookie at Whistle Stop Coffee & Mercantile. // Photo by Lauren Textor

All aboard for the Whistle Stop Coffee Shop

Billie Holiday and Frank Sinatra croon the classics over the wooden booths at Whistle Stop Coffee Shop. Natural light floods in through the front windows, landing on the fresh flowers at each table. The baristas chatter as they restock the pastry cases, wipe down tables, and steam milk for reasonably priced lattes.

Whether heading back to school, working remotely, or looking for a quiet place to read, Whistle Stop has the serenity you seek. 

The mercantile attracts an older crowd for lunch due to its cozy, convenient location in downtown Lee’s Summit, and they have excellent taste. Watching Parmesan Pine Salads and Spinach Artichoke Paninis float out of the kitchen made my stomach growl, even though I had enjoyed a full lunch not even 20 minutes earlier. 

I normally opt for sweet over savory when it comes to coffee, but the Rosemary Pistachio Latte ($4.75 / 16 oz) was too intriguing to pass up. It’s earthy, aromatic, and a little bitter. It’s good fuel for essay writing, assigned reading, or answering the emails you’ve been dreading. 

As if cookies weren’t tempting enough, the Salted Caramel Chocolate Chip Cookie is only $1.05, and it’s strategically placed right by the register. I felt its chewy goodness eyeing me as I prepared to swipe my card until I caved and added it to my total. 

The Salted Caramel is thin and crispy. When you break it in half, the caramel stretches. A conservative sprinkle of salt amplifies the chocolate chunks. 

Owner Candace Jennings’s favorite drink on the menu is the Salted Caramel Americano, cousin to the humble (but delicious) cookie. 

Whistle Stop Coffee & Mercantile is located at ​​227 S.E. Main St., Lee’s Summit, MO 64063.

Cosmo Wanda Matcha Latte And Chocolate Chunk Sea Salt Cookie At Novella

Cosmo & Wanda Matcha Latte and Chocolate Chunk Sea Salt Cookie at Novella. // Photo by Lauren Textor

Novella is one more reason to frequent the public library

Libraries are one of the last frontiers for free, safe, and public spaces to relax, and I will support that in any way I can. 

The Green Hills Library Center, a branch of the Mid-Continent Public Library, houses The Culinary Center. It’s a space to host culinary literacy programs and affordable commercial kitchens available for rent. Because of this location’s emphasis on food, it makes sense that it has its own coffee shop: the original Novella Café.

Novella has a brief menu with a rotating selection of pastries and sweets, including a two-pack of Chocolate Chunk Sea Salt Cookies for $6. 

Sea salt is to chocolate chip cookies as garlic is to sauce. You don’t need it, but it will surely improve the recipe. These cookies have large, rectangular, semi-sweet chocolate chips alongside prominent salt crystals. They might make you thirsty, but they’re worth it, and Novella has a compact menu of drinks to choose from. 

The Cosmo & Wanda is a dairy-free matcha latte topped with strawberry cold foam. Recently, I’ve realized that I enjoy cold foam more than the coffee that typically comes beneath it. This drink removes coffee from the equation entirely and replaces it with another source of caffeine that’s also rich in antioxidants. It makes me less jittery, and this variety is sweet rather than bitter. If matcha has offended your taste buds in the past, then give the Cosmo & Wanda a try—it might surprise you. 

Novella has its own patio and indoor seating at the library, providing gorgeous natural light and a quiet space to think. The Green Hills Library Center also has ample parking despite a lack of shade. 

A surprising perk is that it’s only 10 minutes from the Kansas City International Airport. If your flight is delayed, consider skipping the airport food and beelining for Novella instead. 

Novella has two locations at 8581 N. Green Hills Rd., Kansas City, MO 64154, and 1331 Union Ave., Kansas City, MO 64101.

Categories: Food & Drink