Café Moka opens satellite bistro in Islamorada
March 13, 2019
ISLAMORADA — Café Moka now has an Upper Matecumbe Key location, an extension of its flagship Tavernier bistro that first opened in 2011.
The original location next to the historic Tavernier Hotel will remain in operation.
“We love our Tavernier location,” said Pierre-Marc Bellion, who owns both cafés with wife Alexandra. “The Islamorada Café Moka is a much smaller space, so we don’t bake there. We do all the baking in the early morning at the Tavernier location and deliver it to Islamorada.”
Although smaller in space, the Islamorada café has an outside courtyard with tables for customers to sip coffee, eat French pastries and read the newspaper, according to Bellion.
It offers fresh-made pastries, baguettes, quiches and the same almond croissants that have become a best-seller at its larger sister store.
“We have people calling and requesting them to be shipped all over. They’ve become an obsession,” Bellion said.
Café Moka also offers its own specific blend of roasted coffee beans from around the world.
Another difference between the two cafes noted by Bellion is that the Islamorada locale is a bit more accessible as it’s in walking distance to neighboring businesses.
“When we first opened in Tavernier eight years ago, people had to get in their car and drive to the café since it’s off the beaten path,” Bellion said. “In Islamorada, there’s a lot more hotels nearby, so we are seeing more foot traffic.”
He said it took time to build a reputation as an authentic café in Tavernier, and now, “it has an amazing group of local supporters.”
As a polar opposite of many restaurant’s “turn-the-table” policy, Bellion said no guest ever stays too long.
“If someone wants to stay five hours here, they’re welcome to. They can stay the entire day,” he said.
He said Alexandra’s commitment to perfection has established a following at the Tavernier location and he expects the same in Islamorada.
“My wife is obsessed with quality, so we don’t care as much about the bottom line as much as we do quality. We are blessed to have the following that we have,” Bellion said.
“It’s funny because it still works. We still work together and it’s good,” he said of his partnership with Alexandria. The couple, who began dating more than 30 years ago in the south of France before eventually marrying, has two adult daughters.
Café Moka has been rated in the top three on Trip Advisor since it’s opening, which assures Bellion that what they do is appreciated, he said.
The Tavernier shop is located at 91865 Overseas Highway. Hours are 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. For more information, follow Café Moka Tavernier on Facebook. The new location is 81868 Overseas Highway in the Trading Post Village. Hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. For more information, follow Café Moka Islamorada of Facebook.