If you think about it, the MSA Annex is like a treasure map of gift shops, craft beer, cocktails, and veggie burgers, but if you make your way to the center, there’s a coffee shop that marks the spot.
Since its grand opening in October 2019, Decibel Coffee Works has been serving up coffee to regulars or those just passing through, and now the kitchen is firing up a menu that’ll help kickstart your day.
Introducing Decibel Kitchen
A lot has happened over the past year, giving the popular coffee spot the chance to evolve into a breakfast and lunch destination located just west of downtown.
So, if your stomach is grumbling and you’re craving more than just a hot — or cold — cup of coffee, chef Michael Larson is serving up breakfast bowls, tartines, sandwiches, and more on a daily basis from 7 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Additionally, fresh pastries are coming out of the oven each and every day, too, from pastry chef Karen Renda, who landed one of her first baking gigs alongside chef Larson at Welcome Diner.
A sweet match made in the kitchen
Larson and Renda met while working at Welcome Diner and eventually moved to San Francisco, where they both dished out the goods at Domenico Winery & Osteria in Silicon Valley. Once the pandemic did its deed on the restaurant industry, the couple moved back to Tucson and landed themselves an even sweeter opportunity — Decibel Kitchen.
In chef Larson’s eyes, pastry chef Renda’s baking is “nostalgic with a twist”, much like the Salted Chonkin’ Chip Cookies.
“She enjoys highlighting seasonal ingredients,” said Larson. “Most recently your nose would be delighted to find the smells of Kumquat and Black Sesame Scones and Blood Orange Goat Cheese Scones, co-mingling with the smell of gooey, marshmallow-stuffed, Rocky Road Cookies that just happen to be gluten-free.”
When it comes to chef Larson’s influences, they are diverse enough to represent that he’s been eating his way around the world over the years. Although, despite all of the traveling, his roots are in the Pacific Northwest.
Currently, on the menu, it won’t take long for your gaze to lock onto the Barbecue Pulled-Pork Sandwich with blueberry espresso barbecue sauce and Granny Smith apples. The pork is prepared with a spice rub and smoked in-house for nine hours — bringing a “sophisticated elevation to hearty home-style classics.”
Do you see that sauce dripping out of the sandwich? That’s Decibel’s very own espresso mixed in with the blueberry to create the barbecue sauce.
“I specialize in sauces,” said Larson. “Speaking of sauce, if you love it hot, you have to try this housemade hot sauce. I emulsify habanero, carrot, and vinegar in such a way that makes it light and airy, coating the tongue in a blanket of heat.”
He also recommends that if spicy isn’t your cup of Joe, and you’d rather live life on the lighter side, try the Green-Goddess Avocado Toast.
“The guacamole takes on a whole new herbaceous dimension with the addition of herbs like tarragon, basil, and green onion,” said Larson. “The whole toast is a fun chromatic green, topped with crispy Brussel leaves, delicate pea shoots, shaved parmesan, and fried garlic.”
Aside from the regular menu, Decibel Kitchen has weekly weekend specials that rotate between vegan and non-vegan dishes. You’ll want to keep up with them on Instagram for the specials because they’re usually posted on Friday afternoons.
Decibel Coffee Works is located at 267 S. Avenida Del Convento. For more information, call (520) 838-0750 or visit decibelcoffeeworks.com.