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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Capitol coffee shop goes all swank, Starbucks-y



More than a few people stepped into the Capitol's 10th floor eatery today and no doubt thought they were either lost or having wishful hallucinations.

But their eyes were not deceiving them. Yes, those were leather armchairs and couches set up around a fat-screen TV mounted on a fireplace-like wall. Yes, that was Dave Matthews and soft reggae playing in the background. And yes, those walls painted in a warm, Starbucks-like mocha and burgundy color scheme were for real.

Jeff Sharkey, the local lobbyist and restaurateur who took over the Capitol food contract this summer, said the architect and contractors worked at a fast pace between Sept. 11 and Oct. 2 to get it all done in time for lawmakers' and lobbyists' return to the Capitol this week. (Want to place bets on who is the first to fall asleep first in those cozy chairs and couches?)

"It's the Capitol people expect," Sharkey said. And to celebrate the new hangout with revamped menu, he offered coffee Monday for 25 cents a cup. That, however, is not a price you should expect to last.


[Last modified: Thursday, September 9, 2010 2:21pm]


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