A Dream Come True!
It may be a classic cliché, but opening our roastery and café in Pittsburgh’s Historic Strip District is truly a dream come true–there is simply no other way to put it.
One month ago, we opened the doors on a business that I have figuratively and literally dreamed about since I was a child. Though we only decided to make coffee roasting the core of our business a few years ago—I always knew that I wanted, needed even—to build a warm, welcoming, cozy place where people could meet, converse, just be happy spending time with one another. So in one way or another—formal education, travelling, prior work experience—it’s now clear that I’ve been preparing for this my whole life.
Though that may be the case, my dream would have fallen short—100% flat on its face in fact—if it weren’t for a critical factor that is just impossible to plan or prepare for—and that’s the support and help of my incredible family, friends, and most of all, my wife Vanessa. Without them—my business partners, parents, sister, cousins, contractors, vendors, and all the people around me—and their help and ceaseless encouragement—none of this would exist. So this post is really just to do two things. First and foremost, to thank all of them, and all of you who have supported us along the way.
Secondly, I wanted to talk a little bit about what we’re trying to do here in the Strip and why.
At the end of December we shuttered the industrial space which had been home to our roaster since April, and relocated our entire operation to 2002 Smallman Street in the Strip. The Strip has long been home to food wholesale and manufacturing—and it’s long been a destination for tourists and the hard-working folks of Pittsburgh alike to experience some of the best sights, sounds, and food our city has to offer. So based on history alone, it’s a perfect fit.
Here in the Strip, we’ve created a unique space—part production roastery, part café. We’ll roast our coffee and blend our tea on the mezzanine which we’ve turned into our production area. You’re able to see our roaster from the café—and if you’re interested, just ask and we’ll be happy to invite you up to take a look at the roaster and see how we roast first hand. This is setup is very intentional—part of our mission has always been to help those who want to learn more about coffee, do so in a fun and stress-free way. We’re happy to get technical and talk TDS ratios, processing techniques and the like, but for most people, we think just seeing and smelling coffee being roasted is a great way to start. When it comes to coffee and tea, as with most things, we believe some foundation of knowledge can enrich the experience.
In addition to coffee and tea, we’re working hard to provide thoughtful, simple-yet-delicious food made in-house using ingredients in many cases from other local artisans such as Steel City Salt, Parma Sausage, Paul Family Farms, Bedillion Honey, Apodia, Olive & Marlowe, and Fresh City Pasta to name a few. We’re continuing to expand our offerings but some things you should expect to see on a regular basis are pastries, croissants and baguettes from La Gourmandine, and then a lot of stuff we’ll make here, including paninis, baked oatmeal, waffles, cookies, granola parfaits and smoothies—and we’ll grow from there.
In the not-to-distant future, we’ll also begin serving a small, but delicious selection of wines, local beers and craft cocktails like bottle-aged negronis, martinis, and even some cocktails using our tea and coffee. In true European (or at least “outside-of-Pennsylvania”) fashion, we believe a café should be a welcoming gathering space, no matter the time of day. As such, we plan to have delicious drinks for every occasion.
Lastly, you’ll be able to purchase most of the awesome stuff we cook with to go home and cook on your own. We’ll have a small market where you can get some stuff to make a simple, delicious dinner—again, bread, pastas, sauces, honeys, olive oils, charcuterie and fresh cheeses—for when you may not have time to run to Breadworks, Parma and Penn Mac all on the same day. Maybe even treat yourself to some award-winning chocolate or a Choux a la Crème!
We’ll constantly evolve and strive to improve—so as always, if you have any feedback, suggestions or comments—reach out to us anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’d love to hear from you, and we’d love to know what we can do better.
Thanks again to all of you—we hope to see you soon in the Strip!
PS HUGE thank you to Julie Kahlbaugh and Keri Allison for the amazing photos in this post!