Entrepreneurs Kzoo Kitchens

New Robin brand gives Kalamazoo bigger wingspan

Downtown cocktail lounge Stamped Robin expands globally-inspired esthetic to next door coffee and food spot Café Robin, which officially landed last week.

One of Kalamazoo’s premier craft cocktail and wine bars has officially stretched its wings. And libation lovers won’t have to fly far.

The Stamped Robin, known for its impressive offerings of handmade refreshments served in a hip setting of renaissance décor under a soundtrack of equally cool records, has formally expanded its name at the coffee shop next door.

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A week ago, what had been Two Twins was rebranded Café Robin, its food menu multiplied and improved upon, and a few new pieces of furniture were added.

The plan all along was for Two Twins to be handed over to the Stamped Robin owners, Matt and Emily Deering-Caruso. The hand-off took place earlier than anticipated, with Two Twins owner and manager Mackenzie Chrisman and his wife wanting to venture on to new experiences.

The coffee shop’s look and feel is similar to Two Twins. Chrisman, formerly of Civil House Coffee Co., will turn the Two Twins brand into more of a consultancy for area coffee businesses.

Matt Deering-Caruso said Café Robin’s tasty additions, boozy coffee creations, and other offerings are inspired by the cocktail bar.

“At the end of the day, it’s that eye opening moment we want our customers to have,” he said. “It’s when someone tries something new and has a wonderful experience. We want folks to nerd-out as much as we do about what we offer. We are excited about showing new things to people.”

You might be hard pressed to find a café with a more diverse set of offerings, serving a clientele with more extensive sets of interests. The pan-Robins brand is now a day and night operation, with a unique collection of breakfast items that can also be easily consumed with a lunchtime coffee (with or without alcohol), before the vibe switches to the lounge-style, high-craft drinks space.

Patrons can sit in either of the locations’ indoor spaces, connected via a removed doorway, as well as the half dozen tables on the side patio of Stamped Robin.

Their espresso and drip and pour-over coffee is sourced from high-end roaster Proud Mary. Other beverages include a host of teas and alcoholic drinks, beer and wine, and the more obscure Bombon (a Spanish drink of espresso and sweet milk), an Affogato (shot of espresso and a scoop of gelato), and a Portaccino (espresso with Port wine).

Bloody Marys and Mimosas are served all day, and some standard bearer cocktails – like the Negroni and Old Fashioned – are available in bottle form.

The Deering-Carusos reworked the food menu, too, offering house-made granola, substantial and uncommon breakfast sandwiches, baked goods all made in house, and unique takes on go-to sandwiches, like their PB&J on a buttermilk biscuit. To keep things lighthearted and a little quirky, they added “Cereals from Your Childhood” to the menu – Lucky Charms, Frosted Flakes, and Cinnamon Toast Crunch.

the interior of Cafe Robin

In everything but the name, the Two Twins space was developed as if it were an extension of Stamped Robin, and the power clash of the wall treatments and furniture transition well as you walk through it. The table and chairs set in the window space at Stamped Robin were salvaged from the former Great Lakes Shipping Company located just off of the campus of Western Michigan University until it closed in 2018 after 44 years. On the opposite end of the Robin establishments, wood and black leather booths repurposed from an old Chicago bar have been installed near Café Robin’s back door.

Across from the café’s counter is a 150-year-old wooden display case rescued from a department store, now housing a wall’s length of beer, wine, and other high end drinking supplies.

Moving into the coffee world is not just about expanding the business, it’s about building the Robin brand, Matt said.

“Robin means transparent spaces, authentic experiences, accessibility and inclusivity,” Matt said. “It’s about bringing a high-level product to a place where people can engage with it, about venturing into the obscure.”

A Kalamazoo native, Matt said he wants people to see the café as more than just a place to grab a coffee before work or a space to vibe with friends. It’s an intentional spot where he wants customers to feel inspired to try products or drinks they never have before – or possibly haven’t even heard of. In a world of craft-this and small-batch-that, Matt said it’s important to stay grounded.

“Everything we do we do we have to get people on board,” he said, “even if what we are offering is the best.”

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