Photos by Veronica Arvizo, Staff Photographer
While walking around Isla Vista, you might do a double take and realize that Crushcakes has been replaced by a new eatery called Kol’s Cafe.
Kol’s Cafe opened up recently by owners Botta and Alexandra Kol, a young couple who moved to Isla Vista from France at the end of July.
“I was looking to buy a business in the United States for 2 years,” said Botta Kol. “In the beginning, I looked at different states like New York and South Carolina. I visited restaurants for sale and I fell in love with Santa Barbara, California and this place. That is why I am here.”
When you first walk in, you’re greeted with a familiar set up. Those who have been to Crushcakes will recognize some of its main features present in Kol’s. The front of the store displays fresh baked goods, often along with a few free samples next to the cashier.
Most of the food on the menu is typical cafe food. “[The cook and I] work together on the food,” Botta Kol said. “I wanted to keep something that matched with the demand here.”
There is also a pretty complete drink menu. The website says there is fresh squeezed juice available, again, to keep up with the demands of Isla Vista. “The food is very different,” said Botta. “The first thing I did in Europe was put the soda fountain with Soda, Coke, Sprite, and Fanta. Here they want juice and healthy drinks. That is very different. I just learned the Chai latte. I don’t know what that is in France.”
My photographer for this review, Veronica, and I were greeted by Alexandra Kol, who was working as the cashier. She was kind and welcoming. Next to the register were free samples of their various crepes.
There’s a decent amount of seating, both inside and outside the cafe. Toward the back, there’s even a large, comfy couch. When you take a glance around, you’ll notice inspirational quotes on the wall — this can definitely be encouraging while studying. In fact, this is another good study spot in Isla Vista due to the plentiful power outlets around the eating area.
Our food came in a quick, timely manner. I ordered the spicy chicken wrap and lemonade, and neither disappointed. The wrap was decently sized and fully stuffed with food. Inside was chipotle chicken, chipotle cream cheese, tomato, lettuce and avocado. The wrap was absolutely decadent. The chicken wasn’t the weird, artificial looking chicken often found in wraps. Instead, it was fresh, grilled chicken covered with smoky flavor. Even though the wrap claimed to be spicy, it had a spicy flavor without any heat. Avocado complimented it perfectly.
I had the option of choosing between tortilla chips, salad and fruit on the side. I went with the fruit and was presented with a bowl of cubed cantaloupe and green grapes. The green grapes were definitely sweet and juicy. It went along with the lemonade, which was the perfect balance of sweetness and tartness.
Veronica went with the classic croissant and was complimented on her pronunciation of the word. It came with tomato, egg, cheese, bacon and tomato. She described it as a little plain, but the saltiness from the bacon definitely enhanced the flavor. It wasn’t too greasy, but very filling.
Along with her croissant, Veronica got the coffee frappucino. According to her, it was definitely more coffee-based and more bitter than a typical one from Starbucks. The consistency was thinner due to the ice being blended more finely. It didn’t taste like she was drinking liquid coffee candy.
Both of us split the Nutella crepe because you can’t go to a French cafe without getting a crepe, and it was nothing short of amazing. They truly mastered the crepe, which was thin, spongy, and chewy. However, the only downside if that the portion was relatively small for the price. The crepe is gone before you know it and you’re left scraping Nutella off the sides.
The owners were very delightful and enthusiastic people. “Every week I see various things around. A lot of people walking with naked feet,” Botta recalled. “You can’t see that in France. I have to buy a longboard now to be cool like the students here.”
Kol’s Cafe is located at 6533 Trigo Road. They are open from 6 AM to 7 PM daily.
“I love working,” said Botta. “I like my job, I like my environment. Everyday I meet different people. Students are very nice, very positive. A lot of times, it’s my motivation to do my best here. I hope that we will be very popular here. We welcome all the customers to discover our food.”