Just south of the railroad tracks on McCullough in Olmos Park you will find The Yard. The location, once a rail yard, still evidenced by the old railcars housed there, some of which are now storefronts, has always intrigued me. Sadly, for many, many years The Yard was a ghost town with a feel not unlike a true rail yard: sparse, cold, and dilapidated. Over the last couple of years The Yard has seen a wonderful vitalization, led in no small part by the outstanding Olmos Perk.
My first visit to Olmos Perk seals the deal. Unlike other places you have to warm up to, or which seem to have to warm up to you, Olmos Perk immediately welcomes you into its fold. I walk up to the counter, slightly awkward, trying to discern the menu, not because there is anything inherently counter-intuitive about it, just trying to get my bearings in an unfamiliar place. A pleasant man greets me and asks if I need any help. Nothing unusual. I state this is my first time at Olmos Perk and he in an even friendlier tone says, “Well, that’s great! Glad to have you!” Not in an excited, lab puppy kind of way. Just genuine and easy. I am now a frequent visitor. As with any eating establishment, each visit presents an opportunity for disappointment, but I never am. The service is consistently good and amiable. It’s like having a great neighbor.
A neighbor who also happens to be well connected, but without the name dropping, glad-handing, false-smile attitude, and all while happily fostering connections among its connections. We all have a friend who seems to know everyone and who is like glue, like Kevin Bacon to use a tired metaphor. Olmos Perk is this friend. It is not unusual for me to see people from far-reaching parts of my life all converge on some random Friday at Olmos Perk.
This down to earth, forthcoming, more the merrier approach permeates Olmos Perk. The fixtures are stylish without being pretentious. The furnishings are contemporary but comfortable. The vibe is relaxed, with a studious side, given its bank of open-faced computer cubicles and free wi-fi, enhancing an already stay awhile style.
Then there is the coffee which is really why I am here. Provided by local coffee roasters, Kiva Coffee, the coffee at Olmos Perk is superb, smooth and rich. I almost always get a latte unless it is screaming hot outside. (I mean, it is not impossible to hit 90 before 9am in San Antonio in August.) In that case, it is an iced coffee black with a hint of sugar. Mostly though, I always think about getting something other than a latte then order a latte. This is no way the fault of Olmos Perk. They offer several varieties of specialty coffees, smoothies and Italian sodas. They also offer various baked goods and pastries provided by the venerable Broadway Daily Bread. All fantastic.
Bottomline: You may have to go a little out of your way to get to Olmos Perk but it is well worth the detour. Great atmosphere, greater coffee, the greatest people. Go and you will have a friend for life, a great life.