Big Flavors, Wee Space at Fairview Coffee Bar & Grub

click to enlarge Don't miss the Mexican hot chocolate donuts. - LAUREN MADRID
Lauren Madrid
Don't miss the Mexican hot chocolate donuts.

Do we need more coffee shops in Midtown? That's what I asked myself as I pulled up to Fairview Coffee Bar & Grub, a newly opened coffee shop at St. Mary's and 281. Within a 5-mile radius of Fairview, there are at least 10 coffee shops (not counting the myriad Starbucks). Do we need more hipster baristas, pour overs and Millennials on MacBook Pros?

[Slideshow: 24 Locally-Owned Coffee Shops In San Antonio]

I'm not sure if we do, but we should appreciate Fairview for what it brings to the area. Located between Pizza Classics and SA Pops, Fairview is on the small side for a coffee shop. They've maximized the interior as best they can, with a long table dominating the main dining area and a few bar chairs lining the wall. On the sidewalk underneath the awning, wrought-iron tables double the dining area and offer a bit of privacy for those who don't want to share a table with strangers.

The coffee and tea is the usual fare: slow pours, espressos, cortados, lattes, cappuccinos, a vast selection of hot and iced teas, blah blah blah. Really, we all need to be drinking El Chingón: homemade Horchata and a shot of espresso poured over ice with cinnamon on top. If you've ever wanted to pour coffee into your cereal and drink it, this is the drink for you.

Fairview's food menu is small but has some real standouts. Pastries and breads are made in-house, and the craftsmanship shows. The sourdough makes for a tangy toast, topped with herbed goat cheese and fig preserves. This dish sounds humble, but the flavors balance beautifully. The pastry case is loaded with muffins and donuts, including the must-have Mexican hot chocolate donut, which has just the right amount of spice and is filled with a citrus cream. The shop recently added savory bread puddings to the menu, made with either sourdough or waffles. The sourdough, cheddar and sausage pudding was more of an egg custard with bread on top, but I'm not complaining. It was gooey and hearty, the egg still moist while the bread on top stayed crunchy. My half-order of waffles with fruit compote was serviceable. The waffle itself was a little bland and immediately got soggy from the weight of the compote.

The Gremlin's Take

As the mother of a 10-month-old, I like to bring him on my culinary jaunts. Not every place is conducive to dining with an infant, so here's the lowdown. The outside tables were a godsend, so my kid could sit in a highchair and babble without disturbing the college students. Toast crusts were chewy enough to keep the gremlin busy gnawing while I devoured some pastries. Baby gives it two thumbs up.

Fairview Coffee Bar and Grub

3428 N St. Mary's, (210) 731-8009 7am-4pm Mon-Fri, 8am-4pm Sat-Sun

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