Luke Mabie, owner of Omaha’s newest coffee shop and café, called Culprit Cafe & Bakery, believes we’re ready for the next revolution in coffee and bread. What is this revolution, you ask? It’s actually more of a regression. “The idea behind Culprit Cafe is simplicity,” Luke says. “We take what we’re best at, perfect it and build an identity based on it. We use it as a foundation for our menu and everything we do.”
At Culprit Cafe & Bakery in downtown Omaha at 16th & Farnam streets, this perfection comes in the form of coffee, pastries and bread. You won’t find an expansive menu, available at all hours of the day, but you will find “the best product to fit your palate at that time of day,” reports Luke. In the morning, you’ll have the choice of a pastry or breakfast sandwich and coffee. At lunch, you’ll find sandwiches on Culprit’s own breads, soups and salads. In the afternoon and early evening, you can stop by for a fresh-out-of-the-oven loaf of bread to accompany your dinner.
Originally from Grand Island, Nebraska, Luke got his first taste of bread baking and coffee making in New York City, where he “stumbled upon an incredible teacher who allowed me to watch and learn through an internship, as long as I didn’t get in his way.” Luke’s mentor’s no-frills approach is present in Culprit Cafe’s attitude and focus on the basics.
Culprit Cafe’s approach is about getting back to the fundamentals. “We want our food and coffee to be like it was when it started; how it was made and how it tasted,” Luke states. “With some breads, I only use flour, salt and water. I don’t even use yeast. Time will build that in for me. The only time the bread touches something manufactured is when it goes into the oven.”
Culprit’s coffee is complementary to the fundamental style as well. “We treat espresso as a flavor, not an energy drink,” Luke quips. This means you’ll taste espresso in every cappuccino, along with homemade syrups in lattes.
“Just like any great experience in life, it’s that one special ingredient that makes the food and coffee at Culprit Cafe stand out,” says Luke. Stop by Culprit Cafe & Bakery at 1603 Farnam Street or visit CulpritCafe.com for more information.
—By Emily Brocker
—Photo courtesy of Joshua Foo