On a sleepy stretch of Plowman Avenue in Oak Cliff, a pink-accented anomaly that recently popped up has neighbors scratching their heads. "New coffee shop, who dis?" stickers on the front read. A tiny window in the door is labeled "peep show," allowing curious people to peek inside at what will soon become Internet Cafe 2.
Passers-by have long been speculating about this little building at 1333 Plowman Ave., and its story is even more entertaining than all the rumors flying around.
"It’s part art piece, part performance art and part coffee shop," explains owner Megan Wilkes, and that barely scratches the surface of this 300-square-foot cafe.
Internet Cafe 2, which will open the first week of October, is a new project from Wilkes and her husband, Paul. Paul is the former owner of Glass Optical in Oak Cliff, and Megan is the co-owner of Emporium Pies. They own several buildings, including Internet Cafe 2's, on this stretch of Plowman, where Emporium's office is located.
"We thought, what if we open a coffee shop that makes really good coffee but also could be a little bit ridiculous?" Megan says. Thus, Internet Cafe 2 was born.
The cafe, which will be open 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. daily, will serve standard coffee and espresso drinks, snow cones and Pop Tart-esque pastries Megan calls "sugar rectangles." Those who pop in, grab a cup of coffee and leave might not think much of the joint.
"You can get coffee here and not be bothered, but if you start kicking the tires, you’ll find some really funny stuff," Megan says.
First off, the name: There is no Internet Cafe 1, Megan says. The cafe will have "lots and lots of outlets but nowhere to sit," Megan jokes. "That’s not on purpose; it's because the place is really small, but that’s kind of ironic."
Even still, the shop will have "so much internets," Megan jokes. "We’ll have eight different internets available on our menu," she says. "One cup of coffee equals one internet."
Floppy disks, millennial-pink furniture and tongue-in-cheek artwork from Dallas artist Brennen Bechtol accent the fun, modern space. In the bathroom, you'll find a working pink telephone. "When you call your friend from the Internet Cafe bathroom, the caller ID comes up Internet Cafe bathroom," Megan says. The phone pokes fun of people's tendency to check email and social media on their phones while in the bathroom.
You can order your latte with regular or "hipster milk," Megan says, and if you order the lazy iced latte, "your shots of espresso is poured over ice, and you have to go to the bar to pour your own milk. There will be a light discount for labor," she says. "If you pay extra for hipster milk but then you ask for a sweetener that’s been known to cause cancer in lab rats, we’ll ring the irony bell for you."
The cafe will also have "light programming," Megan says. "On the first Thursday of every month, we'll host beat poetry night, where we encourage local business owners to come read their one-star Yelp reviews with like a bongo drum accompaniment."
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As you can tell by now, everything about Internet Cafe 2 is tongue-in-cheek — everything except for the coffee, which will be supplied by Cultivar and guest roasters. But for the most part, Internet Cafe 2 is just a lighthearted, self-aware place to buy a cup of coffee.
"It's a little tongue-in-cheek making fun of some of the food movements — which we’re a part of with Emporium, so it’s kinda making fun of ourselves a little, too," Megan says.
Internet Cafe 2 is hiring baristas, and peppy, smiling personalities are not required, Megan says.
"Baristas who’ve been fired for not being nice enough but come to work on time, come to Internet Cafe No. 2," Megan says. "We got you."