Owners and partners Barbara Banno and Jeanne Kunkle pose in front of The Mug Spot at Stella’s, where regulars can leave their coffee mugs waiting for the next visit. Stella’s serves locally-owned Kahwa coffee in all its hot coffees and specialty drink
As if you needed a reason to go to Stella’s, owners Barbara Banno and Jeanne Kunkle just added a few more: specialty Kahwa coffee drinks, made-from-scratch daily breakfast breads, and some of the best deli meats this side of the George Washington Bridge. Since she and her partner Barbara opened Stella’s three years ago, the hole-in-the-wall breakfast and lunch place has taken Gulfport by storm.
Let’s start with the coffee. It’s no secret that locals and visitors alike crave Kahwa coffee, and that’s what Stella’s serves. Because their coffee’s so popular, you can buy it by the bag ($12.95). In addition to their ever-popular, piping-hot, fresh-brewed Kahwa coffee, they now serve cappuccinos, espressos, lattes, and any specialty coffee drink you can think of – all made with the wildly popular Gulfport-roasted Kahwa beans.
“We were selling so much Kahwa coffee that it seemed like a good idea to branch out, to let our coffee business evolve,” Jeanne says.
Need something sweet to go with that coffee? Stella’s added desserts to the menus: now you can get made-in-the-shop muffins, cinnamon buns, cakes and pies. One day they may have chocolate chip hazelnut muffins and another you may be able to sink your fork into their bread pudding, but no matter what day you go you can get fresh breads and sweets.
Stella’s isn’t for early risers only – they serve their good-for-you with yummy veggies and feta goddess omelet, grits made with real cream, and salmon and all day. They also have a New York-style deli lunch business.
If you crave the New York deli experience, you must order their pastrami. If, for some reason, you don’t want pastrami, choose from liverwurst and onions, a hot or cold Italian sub, or the Stella Dog. They serve their hot dog Jersey-style. That means it comes topped with sauerkraut, roasted potatoes and cheese chopped up and served atop kosher, all-beef hot dog.
When I go, I’m partial to their Hot Cappy. That’s their cappicola served as hot with spicy deli mustard, provolone cheese, and marble rye. My friend Jay is one of the fussiest eaters I know, and he’s never complained once about anything he’s eaten there, including their cole slaw. That, like the potato and macaroni salads, is made on site.
“You have to have the right combination of vinegar and sugar, so it’s not too tart and too much sugar, it’s too sweet,” Barbara says of the slaw.
Most serious coffee drinkers know that Stella’s keeps it local with Gulfport-roasted Kahwa coffee, but they also buy their hot sauces from the Red Hot Tiki down the street and their breads from well-established Giovanni’s bakery in Largo.
If you’re a regular – and we mean, really, really regular – your coffee mug might earn a place at the Mug Spot by the front counter.
“We started out there with nine hooks,” Barbara says.
“Now,” Jeanne adds with a chuckle, “we need a bigger wall.”
Need something stronger than coffee? Stella’s serves – what else? – Stella on tap along with other bottled beer, wine, and, of course, mimosa.
One last thing – people ask two questions: which one of them is Stella, and what’s with the nun on the menu and front window?
“That’s my great aunt Stella,” Barbara says. “She was a big influence in my life, and I remember growing up, she would make dinner for us every time we’d visit. My favorite memories were eating dinner with her.”
Come eat with Barbara, Jeanne and their entire Stella’s family and make some memories of your own.
Stella’s Deli 3119 Beach Boulevard • 498-8950 • 7 a.m. until 2 p.m. seven days a week
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