Situated in a really sweet corner location on Broadway next to Timbo’s (just around the corner from the ever-expanding Pearl Brewery complex) is IAMA Coffee House. First, what is IAMA? Literally, it stands for International Academy of Music and the Arts. It’s basically a small music school, where patrons can pay for music lessons from some very well-trained musicians. This information came at me sideways because I initially thought it was just a new coffee shop. So is it a coffee shop or a music school? A music school that sells coffee and sandwiches, or a unique coffee shop where you can listen to the sounds of pianos and guitars (who knows, if the air conditioning is really blowing, then possibly the faint whistle of woodwinds) wafting through the space? I’m still not sure, but for the moment let’s focus on the coffee shop aspect.
IAMA has been in its present location for about two months. The coffee shop doesn’t seem completely finished, but I can’t tell if it’s still being worked on. I hope it’s an ongoing process, though, because the red brick space has huge glass windows and great potential. As it is, the coffee shop feels more like a lobby where you wait for your music lesson to begin. The minimalist backdrop led me to believe that the coffee shop was a complete afterthought, so I was happily surprised with the sandwich and coffee I tried.
IAMA proudly promotes their use of Boar’s Head deli meats. The Boar’s Head mystique has eluded me up until this point, but IAMA’s toasted turkey and cheddar sandwich was delicious. Much better than I thought it would be. I mention this because, though the service was friendly, it was rather awkward. Almost 10 minutes after my order was placed, I had to reconfirm my sandwich and drink choice. Despite the miscues, I could tell the sandwich was made with love — the ingredients were good quality as well, with fresh leafy greens, diced red onions, tomatoes, and a pickle on the side. The sandwich didn’t reinvent the wheel, but it was made well. I also tried the cortada con crema, a very well-presented espresso drink, which is the perfect size for parents who are hanging out waiting for their kid to wrap up a guitar lesson.
Though IAMA doesn’t seem to be built for hardcore coffee shop dwellers (like those who frequent Olmos Perk, for example), their unassuming vibe is perfectly suited for those who need a place to hang out while reading or studying. With no annoying music blasting from the stereo, customers are treated to random musical performances coming through the drywall. IAMA is different, but that’s ultimately part of its charm
IAMA Coffee House