Menotti’s Culver Panhandle coffee shop is a caffeine lover’s creative oasis

By Jennifer Pellerito

Menotti’s Coffee Stop  12430 Washington Blvd., Culver West (916) 501-2472

Be inspired by Menotti’s espressos, lattes and coffees with artisanal flourishes

In recent years, the original Menotti’s Coffee Stop under the Venice Sign has become a favored grab ‘n’ go spot for locals and tourists alike in need of a quick caffeine fix near the hurly-burly boardwalk. But Menotti’s location on Washington Boulevard near Centinela Avenue invites you to linger over a cup of joe.

Daylight spills in through windows into the space, creating a haven for writers, filmmakers and all sorts of creatives seeking a bit of inspiration to fuel their next big idea in a thoroughly retro-chic setting. (The shop purposely opened last summer sans WiFi.) So pull up an espresso-colored bar stool, pop open a notebook and stay awhile in a coffee shop that buzzes with style.

Don’t be surprised if the music stops halfway through your latte. A record player manned by the barista plays classic hits, live recordings and exotic beats of worldly drums — all on real, old-school vinyl records. If there’s a theory that the warm sounds of vinyl make coffee taste better, then Menotti’s proves it to be true.

Return again for an after-lunch digestive and try the Caffe Rico, a jolt of energy to get you through the afternoon slump. The double shot of espresso paired with homemade vanilla syrup, sweetened half-and-half, orange zest and a dusting of cinnamon will keep you on your toes. The orange zest, in particular, adds a welcome zing of citrus awakening. (Patrons also rave about the Spanish Latte, a vegan-friendly combination of condensed coconut milk, double shot espresso, hemp milk and cinnamon, and have whispered about a “Secret Menu” with more caffeinated surprises in store.) An espresso starts at $3.50. Specialty drinks range from $4 to $10.

Even with all the hipster-pleasing, industrial-chic décor, the staff remains completely unpretentious and will answer any questions you have about your beverage. Feel free to request more or less sugar or cream in your drink tailored to your taste. You’ll get to admire the vintage teal-blue La Marzocco espresso machine while you wait.

The honest, down-to-earth and friendly vibes are enough to fill the entire space. A geometrically striking triangular bookshelf frames the main backsplash behind the counter, filled with decorative knickknacks, odds and ends — a miniature globe, worn by the patina of wanderlust, is one of the charming adornments.

So sit back, relax and let your mind wander.