La Florida Coffee and Wine, located in the space of the former Starbucks on Kleman Plaza, officially opened to customers on March 8. Throughout the early hours of the day, anyone can purchase baked goods such as breads, muffins, pastries and cinnamon rolls.
“It’s a coffee shop by day and a wine bar at night,” owner Jean Uthmeier said. “We make all of our goods fresh here in the kitchen. Everything is fresh, delicious and healthy with no preservatives. In the evening, we also have a small menu that isn’t baked goods, including bruschetta on toast or homemade baguette, cheese boards, charcuterie boards with meat and olives, and an assortment of wine-based cocktails, house spreads and house whites.”
Uthmeier’s inspiration for La Florida stems from wanting to open a shop and create human connections.
“I dreamed about having a shop for a while, especially in Tallahassee,” Uthmeier said. “My husband is from Florida, and we moved here a few years ago because we wanted to make it home after we got married. I love plugging into the community and helping be a bridge for people to engage and relate on a human level. I think in this world of screens, everyone is constantly on their phones and social media, but they don’t really have social connections with people. I hope that La Florida will meet that need and be a place where friends can break bread together, quench thirst, and build friendships and relationships.”
Uthmeier was also inspired to create La Florida after working for a travel company and being exposed to the different communities of people that enjoyed being at local cafes, shops and bars.
“I worked for a travel company right out of college and I got to see so much of the world,” Uthmeier said. “I felt that seeing people enjoy life together really created beauty and culture in places like Paris, Madrid, London, Rome and Israel. I wanted something like that for Tallahassee. Tallahassee’s a beautiful city. You’ve got the huge student population and government population. I think it needs a little bit of culture and bridge between these two groups. I’m hoping that La Florida can be a local business that supports local people.”
Lola Martin, an employee at La Florida, says she likes the positive working environment.
“As an employee, I really like the environment here,” Martin said. “First of all, this café is located in a really cool area. A lot of students come here. A lot of people that work around downtown come here. We have really good customers in general and I really like my co-workers. They’re great and easy to work with. It creates an overall good and comfortable environment.”
Suzanne Lex and her co-worker who did not want his name featured are appreciative of the service provided at La Florida.
“We’ve had a wonderful experience with the new coffee shop,” Lex said. “And Olivia at the counter, the barista, is just lovely.”