Today is a beautiful day. Sunny, breezy, all the trees springing into bloom. But I really need to be studying and I really need to be drinking coffee. Days like today are Lino’s days.
Lino’s Coffee is unlike any coffee shop I have ever been in. It is housed in the Dallara factory, an Indycar chassis manufacturer on Speedway’s Main Street. The company is based in Italy and, from what I understand, thought their Indianapolis plant deserved fine Italian coffee. In fact, this is the first Lino’s location to be opened in the United States. It has been in business almost exactly a year and I love love love it.
Even if the coffee were just ok, I would love being inside Lino’s. The café part of the factory boasts floor-to-ceiling windows and has a clean, modern industrial feel. On days where I have to be inside but really would rather be sitting in the sunshine, this is my place. Plus, the whole place smells a little like rascar, which in my book is basically an aphrodisiac.
Happily, the coffee is considerably more than ok. It is spectacular. It is unlike anything I have ever had in the US. Beans are imported from Brazil, India, Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Guatemala, Jamaica, Santa Domingo, Hawai and roasted in Parma, then shipped to Indianapolis where they are brewed into an extensive and seductive array of drinkable magic.
My favorite, the Marocco, has layers of chocolate syrup, espresso, and steamed milk.
My other favorite, the Ciocchino (which I order in a hazelnut variety but can be made with many flavors) has layers of hazelnut cream, espresso, foamed milk, whipped cream, and hazelnut syrup. The cappuccino and straight espresso are divine as well.
If you are a coffee lover, or, like myself, a lover of tableware, there is always something a bit disappointing about going to starbucks and guzzling 16 ounces of coffee out of a paper cup through a tiny hole in the plastic lid. Call me crazy, but it’s just not the same as a nice hefty mug for your café au lait or a dainty perfect demitasse for your espresso. Lino’s is not just about the coffee, it’s about the experience.
Did I mention Lino’s also serves food? Pizza, salads, gelato, just about anything you could want. I’ve sampled the bruschetta, and it was fine, but not nearly as delicious as the pizza at the next table over smelled. They serve beer and wine and an array of breakfast sandwiches. You can buy prosciutto and baguettes to take home with you. Someday I’d like to try everything Lino’s offers, but right now I can’t spare any stomach space. I’m saving it all for that coffee.