Waldo's sits in a converted bungalow on Heights Blvd, just south of 11th. It's an interesting place to say the least. The front porch was occupied by the slacker/dog owner/smoker contingent, while the inside was quiet and subdued. Inside, there was a cozy sitting area to the left that was completely packed with this adorable group of elderly ladies. A lone barista manned the coffee station (uh oh), dispensing the obligatory caffeinated beverages and preparing the breakfast sandwiches.
The "uh oh" needs some explanation. When I moved to the Heights a few years back, there was not a good cup of coffee to be found. Anywhere. Seriously. Then, a new coffee shop opened on Yale that served a decent cup o' joe, had good muffins and other baked goods, and I thought "hells yeah this isn't so bad." Well, then things went downhill. Fast. Orders took forever to get delivered. Another occasion, they ran out of lids and handed me (I kid you not) a cup of coffee through the drive thru with no lid. Last straw, the guy behind the counter threw a fit (and a carton of cups across the store). I vowed never to return. A month or so later, I wasn't surprised to see it shuttered.
Back to the "uh oh." You're going to try to serve coffee AND make breakfast with one guy behind the counter? Really? I just don't see this ending well, although to give Waldo's credit, getting two cups of coffee didn't take long.
We purchased two espresso drinks. The vanilla latte and plain espresso drinks were just ok; the espresso lacked that essential espresso bitterness that is essential to a truly great coffee drink. I would rate it below Starbucks, and certainly way below Catalina Coffee in the Bizarro Heights.
Which brings me to the controversial subject of Starbucks. I know this seems counter to the manifesto, but I actually like Starbucks. Sure, it's not great coffee, but Starbucks has done more to advance the woeful state of coffee in this country than pretty much anyone else. I'm not suggesting that I would want Starbucks on Heights Boulevard, but there isn't one to be found between the one on the North Loop and the one on I-10. This in a city where there's one on every corner (sometimes two). How about classing up Shepherd (northbound), replacing one of the nasty fast food joints? Certainly, the new one on the North Loop classed up that area.
Rant over, Starbucks probably isn't coming (no more rapid expansion). An even BETTER idea: Catalina, open a location up here. Everybody wins!