Monday, February 25, 2008

QUICKVIEW: Brewed Awakenings- ++ / $$

Great atmosphere and a wide selection are the highlights of this decent URI haunt. Located in a relatively new economic development that's otherwise in the middle of nowhere, Brew-Awk, as I shall call it, has the distinct advantage of being right off of Route 1. Early hours and quick access to a main road make Brew-Awk a good choice for the morning routine. It's an excellent option for URI students to come and just hang out, soaking up the free Wi-Fi. I was impressed with the size and openness of the dining area. Very airy, very comfortable, with good acoustics for holding conversations. Lots of comfy chairs are littered about, with most of them usually taken up with said URI students. It's very busy, so be prepared to either leave or wait for seating. I was also impressed with the wide selection of food. The snacks were numerous, and the small menu of sandwiches ensures that those looking for a evening spot to relax will be fully accommodated. I got an egg sandwich and it was good. Prices were all competitive.

Espresso was acceptable. Better than Bagelz, but inferior to many of the other nearby options. The barista didn't foam the milk very well and they chose a strange roast for their espresso shots. It was weak, a little bit earthy, with sour tones that didn't go well with the latte. The mocha wasn't. Very little chocolate flavor at all. Sweet, but where's the chocolate? Chai was, as it seems everywhere, Big Train. I've encountered this a few times, but somehow, some places actually screw up Big Train chai. I don't know how. You follow the directions, and bamf!, chai. Jitters did that once. It tasted like chai-flavored water. This place isn't as bad as that day at Jitters, but it wasn't acceptable. Considering how easy it is to make chai, it should be perfect 100% of the time.

All in all, a very good local hangout and a decent cafe. I'm giving it two checks, but that's a bit of an understatement. The atmosphere, menu, and overall good design compensate for otherwise unimpressive coffee. Seeing that I'm only ten to fifteen minutes away, I'll probably go back.

NOTE: There are multiple Brewed Awakenings locations. This review covers the newest, Route 1 location exclusively. I have never been to the Johnston or Providence locations. Considering their size, it's surprising they don't have a web site.

Brewed Awakenings: ++
Price range for two: $6-$10

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60 S County Commons Way
South Kingstown, RI 02879

Monday through Thursday 6:00am to 11:00pm
Friday through Sunday 6:00am to 12:00am

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