Coffee Shop Showdown: Who’s the Best In Downtown Plano?

Fourteen Eighteen Coffeehouse has been a DTP staple since 2013.

When you enter the doors, it’s like stepping into your grandmother’s living room. Comfy couches, dim lighting, regal armchairs. Soothing music, exposed brick, hanging picture frames.

Each barista greets you with a friendly smile, takes your order, sometimes they even crack a joke. They’re helpful when you ask for recommendations and they are genuine and intentional with their service.

Whenever my gal pals and I meet up, I usually recommend 1418. We squish together on a couch, split a piece of Emporium Pies’ Smooth Operator {yum for days}, and give updates of our busy, busy lives. We wash the pie down with our choice of a latte, cappuccino or the basic drip.

It’s also a great study or reading spot — people keep to themselves, the music isn’t distracting, the coffee scents keep you alert. Drip coffee is super cheap and your first refill is free, so that’s a great deal.

XO_COFFEE_PLANO_MAGAZINE-5

But there’s a new kid on the block: XO Coffee Co.

Believe it or not, David Hasselholff’s nephew opened the new coffee shop this year. David himself came for the grand opening to allure Planoans.

I tried it out for the first time a couple of months ago. It’s a very different vibe and atmosphere than 1418.

XO is trendy and fresh — it’s like your cool uncle’s bachelor pad. Almost everything is wooden, a TV is mounted on the wall, it’s complete with built-in shelves and orb-looking lights. The music is a bit more upbeat, modern pop music.

Honestly, I wasn’t particularly impressed with the iced vanilla latte I got. I could barely taste the vanilla and my overall experience wasn’t that great. My friend did get a delicious, refreshing strawberry lemonade that I think is worth the trip.

So which is the winner?

It’s hard to compare the two, because they’re so vastly different. So I’ll break it down:

Best coffee: 1418, no doubt. High quality, awesome latte designs.

Best study spot: XO might win for this one, simply because the lighting is better. There are also bigger tables to spread out on. The music is a bit more calming and easy to tune out at 1418, but I think the overall study atmosphere at XO is better.

Best service: 1418, XO’s isn’t bad but I find 1418 much more welcoming and personal. They seem more engaged with their coffee addicts.

Best food: I haven’t tried XO’s meals, but 1418 only offers sandwiches. XO’s sounded really filling and delicious, so they probably have the most bang for their buck. But 1418 definitely wins with their dessert: Emporium Pies? You can’t get much better.

Ultimately, it’s your decision.

Why are you going to a coffee shop? To study? To read? To meet with friends? What kind of atmosphere are you looking for? Cozy and comfy? Trendy and fresh?

Now you have an idea of what each coffee shop has to offer, so check them out yourself! You decide which is best and report back — I’m interested to hear your input.

Del’s: Lowkey, High Qual Burgers.

This morning was a physical beating.

A couple of friends and I served at Creekside Baptist Church, taking their old, drab look and transforming it into a beautiful landscape.

Our friend Mike really put us to work. He had us planting shrubs, watering, transplanting grass, moving dirt. It got hot outside really quick–thank you, Texas springtime.

After hours of grunt work, we decided we deserved a hearty lunch. My friend Jonathan recommended Del’s, a little place in Downtown Richardson.

Del’s is the definition of lowkey.

It’s tucked away in a corner on a street off of Main Street. It’s this tiny, almost shack-looking place. But once you enter, it’s actually bigger than it looks. And you can instantly smell the juicy burgers on the grill.

But man on man, these are high quality burgers.

They start at $5, which is an absolute steal. And you can pack on whatever condiments your heart desires. Their fries are tasty–that’s what I had. But I kept eyeing other customers’ curly fries, so you bet I’m trying those next time I pop in.

So if you ever find yourself near Downtown Richardson and you’re craving a burger, you know exactly where to go.

Karaoke Fun @ Shuck N Jive.

Last night, I was ready to eat pie & chill.

After consuming an apple pie (paired with classic vanilla ice cream) in honor of National Pi Day, our friends decided to go out.

I was very unprepared for a night on the town. I was wearing my baggy, Kim Possible-like pants with Tevas (aka the world’s ugliest sandals). I looked like a true granola climber.

Nevertheless, I was up for the adventure. After much Google-ing and Yelp-consulting, we discovered the close-by Shuck N Jive had karaoke on Tuesday nights. Why? I’m not sure. But Yelp assured that there would be a crowd ranging in ages from 20 to 60 years old, and that it would be a “good time.”

So we went for it.

Shuck N Jive is a very unique experience. It’s a small, Cajun restaurant and bar. We didn’t eat the food, but their drinks were great.

The review was right, we represented the 20-year-old demographic, and the ages reached up until at least the mid 40’s. There were also children probably around the 8 to 10-year-old range, so that was a…strange surprise.

My friend Sarah and I warmed up the night by belting Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes’ “Home.” It’s one of my all-time favorites, and I know every word. It also makes me feel nostalgic of the many times I was far away and anticipated a good homecoming.

Sometimes, you just gotta jump out of your comfort zone.

You have to try new things. You have to succumb to your friends’ wishes to sing karaoke on a Tuesday night. You have to take a shot of Patron and sing your heart out to the Black Eyed Peas’ “Where is the Love?,” because this world is in need of more love these days.

Even if you hate it, you’ve got a new memory and experience to cherish. And if you love it, you know where to return on a Tuesday night. I can’t say I’ll become a regular, but I wouldn’t be surprised if I end up at Shuck N Jive for another round of my five minutes of fame.

Attention, World: It’s National Pi Day!

Today is one of the more important days of the year.

It’s National Pi Day!

Yes. 3.14 is everybody’s favorite mathematical number. While math was never my favorite subject, I can always get on board with a celebratory day that focuses on PIE, the dessert.

Pie is the underdog of desserts.

People will die for cookies or cake or ice cream. But only a select few (including grandmas and hipsters) will put their life on the line for a good piece of pie.

My love for pie started with Lula Jane’s bakery in Waco off of Elm St. This sweet little bakery introduced me to the wonderful world of pie. Then I continued my love for pie at Coffeeshop Cafe in McGregor, just a hop up the highway from Waco.

God bless Dallas, where Emporium Pies reigns.

The pie shop has three locations in Downtown McKinney, Bishop Arts and the most recent, Deep Ellum. These reasonably priced pies are baked with love and topped with creamy goodness. They’re thick and rich and tasty and sweet–and at times, savory.

Today and today only, Emporium Pies will give a FREE PIE to anyone who can recite Pi to the 31st decimal point. It’s quiet a feat, but I’m sure it’s worth it. You better get to memorizing right away!

Taco Tuesday: Frankies.

Frankies is a quaint Mexican cuisine restaurant located just a hop, skip and a jump away from my home.

Started by a family in the neighborhood, Frankie’s brings fresh and tasty food to your table with the friendliness of a local hot spot.

Their food is always fresh and fast, never wrong or regrettable. Today, my friends and I received our meals just 5 minutes after ordering. Halfway into my taco, I realized I hadn’t take a picture yet–I was obviously too eager when it first came to our table.

If you’re ever in North Richardson or near University of Texas at Dallas, swing by Frankies for #tacothesday or grab a margarita during Happy Hour. You won’t regret it!

Taco Tuesday: Fuzzy’s.

I’ve always been a taco enthusiast.

It’s meat and cheese and veggies and more all squished into a round, flour (or corn) tortilla and hand-delivered straight into your mouth. What a novel idea.

Each Tuesday from here on out, I will feature local and chain taco-selling restaurants. If I don’t get a chance to blog about them, make sure to check out our Instagram.

Our first #TacoTuesday feature is Fuzzy’s.

Fuzzy’s was founded in Austin and moved to the Dallas area sometime while I was in highschool — aka 4+ years ago. Wow. That makes me feel old.

The taco chain sells tasteful tacos at reasonable prices and crazy, huge margaritas for only $5ish. Though they’re not the best tacos I’ve ever tasted, they’re definitely a great deal, and I recommend going at least every now and then.

It’s a great place to grab a quick bite, watch the latest sports game or catch up with friends you haven’t seen in a while.