Internet Cafe 2, our neighborhood’s newest coffee shop, contains nostalgia for the not-so-old.
“We’ve been called a lot of things. ‘Millennial coffee shop.’ OK, I get it. White and pink. There are a lot of things going on, but the best way to describe it would be nostalgia for 25 years ago when you had to go into a place and find internet or you had to pay for internet or you had to use the computer to play video games,” says cafe owner Paul Wilkes. “Logging in to the internet took a long time. Everything was just different. We love that.”
It’s an ode to a not-so-long-ago time and features a collection of late 1980s and early ’90s memorabilia including a fully functioning desktop box computer for web surfers and an array of floppy disks doubling as coasters. Furnishings are doused in that millennial pink, and the walls feature cheeky artwork such as a collage of Polaroid pictures and a painting that reads “collab piece.”
But the real inspiration? Yelp reviews.
Wilkes’ wife, Megan, co owns the incredibly successful Oak Cliff startup Emporium Pies, and the husband-and-wife duo wanted to do something fun together.
Wilkes cites their own bouts with amateur restaurant critics as the motivating factor behind Internet Cafe 2’s atmosphere, and he encourages other restaurant owners not to shy away from creativity.
“The real inspiration behind this place is the culture of Yelp stressing restaurant owners out so much,” he says. “You can do something good and get a bad Yelp review. We got a three star review in one of our shops one time because they were like, ‘awesome bathroom!’ Three stars. You didn’t even talk about the food, and you liked the bathroom. So why the three stars? You began to obsess over all that stuff and eventually you’re like, it’s okay to express yourself.”
They bought the small building on Plowman Avenue a few years ago for storage, and they asked themselves, “How weird can you get in 300 square feet?”
Even the name of the place is a joke — there’s no Internet Cafe 1.
But the coffee is serious.
For those who that take your coffee with a spoonful of individuality, don’t fear. The selection of coffee may seem minimal, but the baristas of Internet Cafe 2 are allowed creative license and pride themselves in making unique variations of made-to-order coffee.