Ocoee coffee shop nods to the movies

Seeing the need for a hang-out spot after the movies, the managers of West Orange Cinema created Critics’ Corner Coffee.


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  • | 1:39 p.m. September 28, 2016
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In the movie “Willy Wonka and Chocolate Factory,” Augustus Gloop falls into a chocolate river. That’s sort of how the owners of Critics’ Corner Coffee hope you will feel when you drink their Augustus Gloop Frappé — a milkshake-like drink starring chocolate, which blends chocolate, chocolate chips, topping with whipped cream and chocolate drizzle. 

With a drink like that, you’ll probably feel happier about the situation than Augustus did.

In June, Critics’ Corner opened in Ocoee, neighboring the West Orange Cinema. The shop’s three partners — Tenyl Bradford, Jessica McVay and Patrick Sirois — also manage the theater. 

“We wanted to create a space where people could come, hang out and talk and relax,” Bradford said. “We want it to be the backdrop, so to speak, of the movie of your life.” 

They found that people wanted places to hang out before or after they enjoyed a movie, and they wanted to provide a space where people could do so. They looked around the immediate area and realized it needed a coffee shop. 

“We just felt like coffee is kind of central,” Bradford said. “Everybody wants a cup of coffee, everybody wants to hang out or have a little bite to eat or have something to drink, and we just felt like a cup of coffee was the perfect thing to bring people together.” 

MORE THAN COFFEE

Bradford said the menu caters to everyone. It features the classic espresso beverages and coffees, but for those who aren’t into coffee, there’s plenty of other options, including tea, hot chocolate, sandwiches, muffins and cookies. But the milkshake-like Signature Frappés are fan favorites. 

Each of the frappés, such as the Augustus Gloop, are named based on films. Most contain a fruit puree with milk and special, secret base that give the drinks a smooth texture. 

Clockwork Orange has orange juice and yuzu — a citrus fruit from East Asia — topped with whipped cream and a white chocolate sauce. Minion Mania has “BANANA!!” topped with whipped cream, chocolate drizzle and chocolate chips. 

“I mean, who doesn’t think of a minion when you think of a banana?” Bradford said. 

LIKE A FAMILY

Bradford and McVay have worked for Sirois since they were in high school. Sirois hired Bradford in 2001, when she was still in high school. She worked there for three years before leaving for college. She came back in 2007 as a full-time manager. 

“He’s so good to us,” Bradford said. “I couldn’t say no.” 

McVay was hired in 2002, and she’s stayed there ever since. 

“We’ve kind of grown as a family, so to speak,” Bradford said. “None of us are related, but to us we are family.” 

In the mood of the coffee shop, they’ve adopted a similar mentality. 

Because the coffee shop and cinema are connected, guests are allowed to bring food from Critics’ Corner into the theaters.

Eventually, the partners would like to incorporate more movie-related décor to the shop. But for now, there’s a lot of greenery and nature to aid the home-away-from-home feel. 

“We wanted it to feel inviting; we wanted it to feel relaxed,” Bradford said. “We really like nature. We wanted to bring some of those elements in. It makes it feel more homey to us.” 

 

Contact Jennifer Nesslar at [email protected]

 

 

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