Java ThaiIrving Park
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Coffee isn't all you can soak up in this tiny, laid-back corner coffee house. Java Thai serves as a welcome neighborhood hangout in a row of standard commerical storefronts. The place is tiny, with just nine small wooden tables and a row of bar stools along the counter. Patrons trickle rather than stream in during the day, but turn out in greater numbers for the live folk and contemporary country music offered some weeknights. Musicians perform from a front window nook that serves as a people-watching perch. The menu includes Thai appetizers, entrees and desserts, and a roster of American fare (mostly sandwiches). Of course, there is coffee; you can get a cappuccino, latte or espresso. Thai coffee and tea are distinguished by their sweetness, according to Lukana Saktrakul, manager, who also cooks and waits tables. She has more than five years of coffee-shop experience, working as a waitress at the Java Jive, predecessor to Java Thai. Ambience is coffee-shop quirky, with a smattering of straw baskets, flowers, gumball machines, and homey knickknacks. And if you like java, you can buy it by the modestly priced pound on your way out the door.