Duino Coffee House Celebrates Three Years in McKinney, Where Strangers Become Friends

Anisha Holla
Duino Cafe in McKinney offers a unique spread for breakfast and lunch.
Duino Coffee House, which gets its name from a small seaside town on the coast of Italy, recently celebrated its third anniversary of serving McKinney a unique menu of craft coffee and from-scratch small bites.

The husband and wife owners of this shop, Hesham and Asie Bakr, have a tagline for their store: Strangers become friends. The idea is that they want to incorporate the Italian coffee-drinking tradition into the local social scene and bring residents of DFW closer together.
click to enlarge Amazon Chili Mocha at Duino - ANISHA HOLLA
Amazon Chili Mocha at Duino
Anisha Holla
Although it assumes its name from the Italian subcontinent, Duino draws inspiration from all corners of the world. The Amazon Chili Mocha, for instance, is one of the shop’s most popular drinks. The mocha is a house-made concoction devised by the Bakrs with locally roasted coffee infused with the flavors of smoked chili pepper. The drink starts off deceivingly sweet, with chocolate undertones and a milky sweetness that are soon washed out with a sharp punch of spice. The chili pepper, which is sourced directly from a female co-op in the Amazon basin, adds an interesting dimension to the average American mocha latte.

“It takes us much trial and error to come up with something like this. Sometimes what we start with is completely disgusting,” co-owner Hesham Bakr says. “But we’re proud of what we end up with.”

The eccentricity of Duino’s menu isn’t limited to beverages. A Lady Marmalade toast consists of sweet orange marmalade — drawn from Portuguese flavors — and a smear of creamy Italian ricotta cheese. The two textures melt into each other with each bite. The toast is finished off with a sprinkle of cracked black pepper, giving it a nice balance of fruit and spice.
click to enlarge Avo X Pesto - ANISHA HOLLA
Avo X Pesto
Anisha Holla
Another one of Duino’s popular menu items is the Avo X Pesto toast, a plate that adds a twist to the all-familiar flavors of American avocado toast. Like the quintessential brunch item, it starts off with chunks of mashed avocado topped with a drizzle of house-made pesto that adds a hint of tang to the buttery flavors of avocado. Roasted walnuts on top provide a layer of crunch.
click to enlarge Banana brulee waffles - ANISHA HOLLA
Banana brulee waffles
Anisha Holla
For a sweet coffee pairing, it's hard to go wrong with one of Duino's all-day waffles. The banana brulée waffle — the coffee shop's most popular — is a light waffle topped with caramelized bananas and served with a side of maple syrup.

Hesham and Asie Bakr take the most pride, though, in the sense of community their shop has cultivated in McKinney. Their shop is even registered as an art gallery; they regularly display different works from local artists.

“In Italy, drinking coffee is a lifestyle,” Hesham says. “Through display of local art, small business pop-ups, and other events, we try to implement that in our business model.”