What do you do when you’re stuck on a tiny island with no Starbucks? Scope out a Mom & Pop…or drive 20 minutes off the island.
Anna Maria Island is located between Tampa and Sarasota, Florida. The closest city is Bradenton, jokingly called Bradentucky by the locals. It’s not the most forward thinking city in the world.
I worked at the Starbucks on 75th for a year. Customers consisted of retirees, waitresses, hairdressers, and plenty of people at the IMG Sports Academy.
While I worked in Bradenton, I lived on Anna Maria Island. On my days off, especially Sundays, I wanted a café to sit, relax, write or read in, without having to go off the island.
Well, that leaves me 2 whole options for coffee shops! I will tell you about both.
GINNY & JANE E’S
Probably one of the most established businesses on Anna Maria, Ginny & Jane E’s is not your typical coffee shop. It’s also a tourist’s dream! While you can sit and eat breakfast, lunch or sip your coffee at any of the tables, you can also buy the table set, and practically anything else! Lots of handcrafted do-dads like jewelry, hair clips, wood carvings, paintings, a silver bejeweled mannequin, etc.
The drawback for me, who was a local, was all I wanted to do was relax and read. It’s sometimes hard to do that when people are over your shoulder staring at something they want to buy. But there is always an outdoor seating area.
I also enjoyed chatting up my favorite barista there, Danica. She has great customer service skills and is knowledgeable about the menu.
As for the coffee, to be honest, lattes are a waste of money. They’re weak and don’t taste like they’re made with espresso, but regular coffee. I usually just got the bottomless cup of coffee and the vegan banana nut muffin top — the only place you will find a vegan pastry on the island!
My sister raved about the crème brûlée French toast when she was there, so you might want to consider that if you ever go to visit.
Ginny & Jane E’s is definitely a most if you’re in the area!
ISLAND COFFEE HAUS
This coffee shop was closer to where I lived. I frequented it more when I first moved to the island. The coffee? Tastes exactly like Ginny & Jane E’s. So again, I wouldn’t waste my time or money on lattes. They do have some delicious homemade treats that I tried before I was vegan. Try the Southern Comfort cake.
The vibe? Sit at a homey dining room table in a pretty quiet atmosphere. The theme? Mermaids. They kind of tried to rip off the entire Starbucks idea. One of the owners used to work for Starbucks, and both owners are never shy about corporate bashing.
They knew I worked for Starbucks, and it didn’t bother me all that much, because I’m not entirely pleased with them myself, but at least Starbucks’ espresso doesn’t taste like water.
With that said, there is a nice neighborhood, relaxing environment at Island Coffee Haus.
If you really strong coffee, my advice to use would be to brew some where you’re staying. It’ll be a lot cheaper, too. If you want good pastries and breakfast, definitely give both these places your patronage!