Genuine Joe opened a few years ago and quickly became a popular neighborhood spot. In 2006 they won the Austin Chronicle’s Critic’s Pick for Best North Austin Coffeehouse.
Atmosphere: (7) With tons of seating including three separate rooms and an outdoor patio, GJ can really pack the people in. Unfortunately, that means it can get pretty loud at times as this tends to be more of a social hangout than a place to do work in the evenings. Daytime is much more relaxed, and at all hours I’ve never had to worry about the sound system blaring. If you do need to get some work done at night, just remember to bring headphones – and be aware of the live music on Thursday and Saturday nights as well as the 3rd Monday of the month.
Clientele: (4) The clientele is very mixed, reflecting the neighborhood. I love seeing all the different people interacting, even though the noise can sometimes be too much, like I said above. There’s always a interesting conversation to pop into, though. For those of you keeping track, there’s more (seemingly) single men here than women.
Staff: (5) No pretentiousness here. The staff here is super friendly and doesn’t mind making strange drink requests (chai with a shot of chocolate, anyone?). And knowing the regulars by name helps create that cozy neighborhood atmosphere.
Food: (7) Awesome brownies, plus soup, sandwiches, and other baked goodies, including vegan options. Plus, bowls of fresh buttered popcorn! They do seem to run out of things easily, however. The past few times I’ve arrived at 7 p.m. the bakery case was mostly empty, even though they are open until 11.
Mocha: (9) $3.35 GJ has my favorite mochas, with the right blend of coffee and chocolate. I never have to worry about chocolate sludge on the bottom or an inch of foam on the top. (I hate foam.) At other coffee shops it takes me a long time to finish a mocha because of the overpowering flavors attacking my mouth, but at GJ they drink easily and make me rush back for another.
Coffee: (7) $1.45 The coffee has a nice medium flavor, as it should be when you order the house roast. There is a slightly bitter aftertaste but it is quickly replaced with a general coffee flavor – like how you wish that coffee at IHOP was.
Wild Card: (+1) They love having groups come in, and the two side rooms plus a table in the main room can be reserved in advance.
Total Score: 40
Genuine Joe is located at 2001 W. Anderson Lane.