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The 25-year history of Lakeland’s oldest coffee shop

Mitchell’s Coffee Shop has been serving up coffee and gourmet food since 1998. See what inspired the coffee shop’s owner to open the first shop of its kind in Lakeland 25 years ago.

An exterior view of Mitchell's Coffee Shop in Lakeland, FL

Mitchell’s has been serving Lakeland since 1998.

The year was 1998. “Titanic” was the biggest movie at the box office, the Furby had just hit shelves, these city editors were just learning to crawl, and the coffee shop boom of the nineties was about to hit Lakeland. Mitch Harvey and his family opened Mitchell’s Coffee House at 235 N. Kentucky Ave., and it’s been serving Swan City ever since.

Today, you can’t throw a rock in Lakeland without hitting a café, but it was a different story 25 years ago. “The inspiration to open Mitchell’s was born out of the desire to own my own business and a little bit of opportunity,” Harvey told us. “When we started planning the store there were no other coffeehouses in Lakeland, so desire and opportunity collided and the idea of Mitchell’s Coffee House was born.”

An iced coffee and slice of coffee cake sitting on a table at Mitchell's Coffee Shop

Don’t skip the baked goods and pastries — we love the coffee cake.

Photo by LALtoday

If you visited Mitchell’s when it first opened, the most popular items on the menu were the I Dream of Jeanie latte (with hazelnut, coconut, and white chocolate mocha) and the carrot cake baked from scratch. If you weren’t around to try them in 1998, you’re in luck. Both are still on the menu, along with breakfast, lunch, specialty coffees, and cases packed with pastries + baked goods.

What’s next for Mitchell’s Coffee Shop after 25 years in business? Native Lakelander and downtown resident Harvey says, “I see us remaining a very strong staple of the vibrant Lakeland coffeehouse scene for many more years to come.”

Mitchell’s recently underwent renovations and has a new modern look inside, but it’s still the cozy shop that regulars know and love. Stop by to see the new space Monday-Saturday, 7 a.m.-5 p.m., and drink in a piece of downtown Lakeland history.

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