In December, Josh Molina said the coffee shop he was planning, Take It Easy, would be the antithesis of his Makers & Finders — not as bustling, kind of relaxed. It would be a place to hang out, with customers feeling like kin to the sloth that’s its logo.
But when it came to the drinks and pastries the cafe would serve, Molina and his staff did anything but take it easy. Sure, they’ll have the standard Americano, cappuccino and loose-leaf tea. But some of the specialty beverages he created with head roaster Paris Cesena are (loosely) based on cocktails, leading Molina to dub them mocktails.
Take It Easy will make its debut at 7 a.m. Wednesday, with ribbon-cutting at 9, at 3540 Wynn Road in The Center at Spring Mountain, which also is home to The Golden Tiki. It had been scheduled to open in April.
“With the pandemic, we had a little extra time to think things through,” Molina said.
The results are obvious in drinks like On The Block, sure to become a crowd favorite. The “block” is an oversized cube of ice infused with pomegranate juice, which rests in a sea of floral black iced tea and fresh lemon juice, a torched lemon wheel perched on the rim. The tartness is striking and refreshing, and gets more so as the ice cube melts. Molina likens it to a “very nice Arnold Palmer,” but it has dimensions well beyond that mix of lemonade and iced tea.
Then there’s the Espresso Fizz, which is, as he says, evocative of a Ramos gin fizz. It’s an iced latte with juniper, citrus-infused honey and two shots of espresso that becomes emulsified and foamy with a shot of tonic water.
And the Somewhere in Kentucky, a coffee drink that’s — yup — a little reminiscent of a mint julep. Fresh mint is muddled with sugar, lime and vanilla, with two shots of espresso topped off with soda water; an infusionof tonic water brings it all together. Like the other two it’s pleasant, refreshingly refreshing and unique to Take it Easy. All of them are perfect for the counter-service shop’s summer opening.
They’re served amid sleek decor with white tiled walls, white marble counters and tables, deep red plank flooring and metallic accents including the La Marzocco Modbar brewing unit built into the counter, the mechanical elements hidden beneath. Beverages are served on slabs of wood with live, rather than milled, edges.
There’s a lot going on behind the scenes, too. Take It Easy sources single-origin beans from five countries, which they roast in a golden Diedrich roaster from Idaho. Considering the flavors and characteristics of each — and such things as acidity, body, aftertaste, how clean and balanced the bean is and overall appeal — they blend them to get the preferred results. Three single-origin beans are blended for Take It Easy’s espresso, two for its house filter coffee.
Molina said they’re “very focused” on matcha, too, sourcing it from the local non-profit Tealet and using it in a dalgona matcha (honey milk topped with a thick mantle of whipped matcha meringue, plus sea salt and shaved chocolate), a latte, cake and a cake pop.
Which brings us to the pastries, created by pastry chef Ashley Avila.
“I feel like it’s a different interpretation of a bakery,” Molina said. “It’s like a fused bakery.”
Along with the matcha pastries, carrot cake doughnuts, a fruit tart, a vegan-gluten-free banana bread loaf and various empanadas, Take It Easy specializes in Colombian-style pastries that Molina said aren’t available elsewhere in Las Vegas.
It appears he would know. Molina is a native of New York City where, he said, Colombian bakeries abound, and he and his family used to bring back boxes of cheese pastries on visits home. That led to the shop’s pandebono, made with cotija and queso fresco; almojabana, with queso fresco and feta cheese; bunuelos, made with cotija cheese; and the personal and family-sized loaves of pan de queso, with queso fresco and mozzarella tucked between the layers.
Family lore is a theme at Take It Easy. Like Makers & Finders, Molina co-owns it with his parents, Martha and Omar. The shop’s name comes from Omar’s catchphrase, which had surfaced yet again on a family cruise and struck them as the perfect name for the new venture.
Which will open one day after Martha and Omar’s 37th anniversary.