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Specialty coffee, more now brewing at MO’S

Bo may have known football, but MO knows coffee. The Camellia City’s latest eatery, MO’S JO and Espresso, officially opened their doors on Monday.

At 1 p.m. I headed over to the new coffee shop, which occupies the former Little Caesar’s location, right next to Trinity Fitness on the Greenville bypass.

A quartet of local teens were camped out on the comfy-looking love seat and chairs to the left of the entrance, enjoying their drinks when I arrived. The space has been completely transformed with a retro black, white and gray color scheme. Checkered tiles, coffee-themed wall décor and whimsical and wise signs provide a charming ambiance.

Additional seating was on offer in the form of a few blackboard-topped tables, each featuring a mug filled with crayon-shaped pastel chalks, allowing the young and young at heart to add their names or sketch a drawing while they dine.

A chalk art menu overhead, created by Karen Dismukes, allows customers to muse over their drink decisions—a macchiato, mocha or a latte? A frappe or a fruit  smoothie? There’s even “all I want is a cup of coffee” as an option. Decisions, decisions.

A variety of flavored syrups, including several sugar-free and all natural options, can be added to any of the specialty drinks, along with soy or almond milk for those who want to go dairy free.

However, my immediate interest was in lunch fare. The coffee shop offers several paninis, including a turkey club, turkey and cheese, ham and cheese, Reuben and beef and cheddar, each served with a bag of chips of your choice.

My selection:  a favorite sandwich at the Long abode—the Reuben.

I was not disappointed with my choice. The grilled sandwich, served on pumpernickel swirl bread, featured a generous amount of tender meat with sauerkraut, cheese, and their tangy special sauce.

It was more than a little messy to eat, I must confess, and I was thankful for the napkin dispensers located on each table. I went through quite a few of the white squares while eating my sandwich (if you are getting this sandwich to go, I recommend grabbing a handful of napkins before you leave).

However, it was worth the extra effort. I’ve run across Reubens in my lifetime that were tasty— but tough. You almost expected to lose a filling trying to eat the things. Not so with my MO’s JO and Espresso Reuben. It was tender, flavorful and very filling. I could only manage half my chips. But I ate that entire sandwich.

After lunch, I ordered a few things to go, including a small caramel macchiato (available both hot and iced; I opted for iced) and two bakery items—a miniature apple pie (almost too cute to eat–almost) and a chunky, nutty oatmeal raisin cookie. The coffee was both refreshing and energizing after a night of too little sleep, and I enjoyed sipping it as I nibbled on the the cookie, which had that cinnamon zing I prefer in an oatmeal raisin cookie.

Hours later, after a very long and tiring day, I enjoyed my mini apple pie. Its delicious spiced filling and flaky crust provided a tasty treat to top off a wearying but fruitful day. Kudos to MO’s JO and Espresso cook,  Kindal Harrell, who just happens to be the daughter of co-owners, Stacey and Patricia Harrell.

Mo’s Jo and Espresso was doing a steady business during the hour I spent in the new eatery, and that mirrored their day, I was told.

“We’ve been busy all day,” said Patricia Harrell. “We had a couple of little breaks that gave us a chance to catch our breath, but otherwise we’ve always had customers in here.” 

Stacey Harrell was beaming over the coffee shop’s opening day.

“In fact, we’ve got these nice ‘now open’ signs we were going to put out front, and we haven’t had a chance to get them out there. I think that’s a good problem to have,” Harrell said with a grin.

MO’s JO and Espresso is open from 5 a.m. to 9 p.m. at its 323 Greenville Bypass location. You can reach them by phone at 334-382-0690 or via email at mosjoandespresso@gmail.com