Photography by Kathy Tran
If there’s anyone you can trust with good coffee, it’s Jonny Bean and his partner Charles Bader.
The two come from Seattle, coffee capital of the United States.
“When Charlie and I moved here, the Southern hospitality was just really refreshing and so we wanted to go with that theme,” Bean says.
SoCo Southern Comfort Coffee House and Bistro is an ode to that, along with the owners’ friendliness.
“We strive daily trying to make sure that we’re the best that we can be in customer service,” Bean says. “The customers are the ones who make you. We create the environment for them and then they keep us going.”
Switching to takeout only during the coronavirus pandemic was challenging for the owners because of their mission to create an experience for customers.
“That’s half the fun, plating it and making it beautiful,” Bean says.
Although they missed having people dining in, they’ve engaged customers who still come inside to order food and have stayed gracious through the experience.
The bistro is one of the newest additions to the Lakeridge Village shopping center.
“It’s a community of its own. As the business owners we’re building our own community within a community,” he says. “Supporting each other and helping each other get through.”
The SoCo menu was inspired by the owners’ favorite foods.
“I feel like I’m sharing it with the world,” Bean says. “We spend a lot of time developing the recipes and trying to improve daily.”
The avocado toast with baby arugula, thinly sliced radishes, pickled red onion, an egg and chili is popular among the Lake Highlands crowd.
Another favorite is the SoCo crispy fried chicken sandwich with stacked mixed greens, queso, red onions and tomato.
The pastries are made in-house.
“The Lake Highlands ladies love our scones,” Bean says. “They’re a little bit possessive of them, in a good way.”
Sticky buns are also popular.
The bistro’s coffee comes from Seattle Café Vivace, a brand that Bean says he’s been drinking since he was 18 years old.
“Everything we do, there’s a lot of thought put into it and love into it,” Bean says. “It’s about passion of food, conversing and coming to a place and enjoying your time together. That’s the whole importance, making a great environment for people to enjoy their life because God knows we need it.”
SoCo Coffee House and Bistro, 9660 Audelia Road, Suite 123.
Tuesday through Sunday: 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday: closed Socogoodeats.com.