Bob Devin Jones & Ken Welch • Kahwa South

[email protected]’s "Yes!" man and a Pinellas County Commissioner talk coffee and community.

click to enlarge WHO'S WHO: Messrs. Welch (left) and Devin Jones in their element. - Todd Bates
Todd Bates
WHO'S WHO: Messrs. Welch (left) and Devin Jones in their element.

Regular guys: Bob Devin Jones is a regular just about everywhere, it seems, and Kahwa Coffee is fast becoming just as ubiquitous as he is, with five shops on both sides of the Bay and many more in the works. He is one of the rare Kahwa patrons who splits his allegiance between the two downtown St. Pete locations, says co-owner Sarah Perrier. For Commissioner Welch, Kahwa South serves as “my primary South County meeting place.”

It’s the little things: “They keep my jelly here for me,” Devin Jones explains. (Yep, there’s always a mini-jar of apricot jelly handy with his name on it. “I get about five uses out of it.”) He likes the familiarity of the place. “I came here from a big city, L.A. Here, everybody does know your name.”

And everybody does eventually wind up here: Since Atlanta Bread Company closed, Kahwa South “really has become the political hub for early morning coffee,” says Welch. He rattles off names of some of the other regulars: “Johnny Bardine, Commissioner Charlie Justice, Mayor Foster, Paul Tash. Daniel Ruth is here every morning to get his coffee.”

The once and future mayors? As the head of an arts and community center where the answer is always yes, Devin Jones is the unofficial mayor of St. Pete. Ken Welch may someday occupy that seat for real; asked whether he’ll run for the top office someday, he responds, “It’s definitely something I’ll look at in the future.”

Other spots where power players gather: Banyan Coffee & Tea (St. Pete intelligentsia); Oxford Exchange (Tampa power lunchers); Eddie V’s (pro athletes).

Kahwa Coffee, 204 Second Ave. S, St. Petersburg, 727-821-1942, kahwacoffee.com.

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