Local Coffee's Pearl Location in Soft Opening Stage

Tables made from barrel legs. Local Coffee's third location, this time at the Pearl Brewery, is in its soft opening stages this weekend, but the process of getting the store to open was years in the making. The Current sat down with owner Robby Grubbs to chat about what folks can expect out of the newest location and what the future holds for the local brand. On the expanded seating: We’ve got two 10-foot community tables, we probably have seating for 60 outside, we’re going to take away all this parking and we’er going to have greenery outside with all kinds of patio seating outside. We’ll have that out in the next 30 days, some within the next week. We can seat 50-60. We’ll have two community tables, and we have 14 seats at seven two-top tables. The difference between this and the other ones is that I actually have that bar, which will accommodate 14 people. Visit with the staff, visit with each other, watch the baristas in action. On keeping the coffee great: We’re going to have a Texas-section of coffee which will include Cuvee, Flat Track, Tweed and maybe an occasional other one. Then we’re going to have the big guys out there, which will be Stumptown, Verve out of Santa Cruz, Intelligentsia and Madcap. We’re a multi-roaster shop. On educating palates: I don’t care how well trained the owner of the shop is, or even his staff at that point, I think it takes years, for sure, to be able to execute a multi-roaster shop effectively. It’s a lot of work. The baristas have to have a really advanced palate. What we do, is that every 25 pounds or every two days, our espressos changes.  It can be from a different roaster, who will have a pretty significant set of specs they brew with. We use some science to get us to a starting point with our espresso: dry weight, things like that. Science only gets you so far, and then an educated palate has to step in. They have to know what to look for.  We’ve been consistently working with these roasters so we have a pretty good idea what their profiles are, so we have a good place to start. On opening his third location: I'm constantly humbled. I would like to think, I think  I said I was so excited when we opened the second one because it was like being 18 but with the knowledge we have now. It’s a whole new set of challenges. I opened them with so much fear of not taking a lesson and applying it, you know. (There are) no real lessons, obviously our mantra is to stay teachable no matter what, humility. I don’t want to ever think that we have this figured out. The reason we’ll be able to grow and do well is that there’s always a lot to learn. We pay attention to what’s going on in the world with coffee. We’re in the network and we all talk to each other. There’s a group of shops like ours, in LA, NY, Michigan, Chicago, Texas we all pay attention to each other. Not in a competitive way, but in a helpful way.  On using Bakery Lorraine's products: We’re working closer with Bakery Lorraine. We’re working on having some exclusive offerings that they’ll have for us. Our relationship with them is just getting closer as we grow. That’s something that’s so important. We’re about coffee. As much as people wish we had sandwiches we have a very limited menu of items that each take a certain amount of time. Some people say, why don’t you serve the same kind of coffee so people know what to expect? I think that’s true for some people, but its kind of like being “good enough.” We’re so anti-“it’s good enough.” In this arena, we’re doing our customers justice by it never being good enough, so we’re always improving. On Location 4: Yeah. If it was just about me, I would have one maybe 2 stores that it wasn’t about me. But when I had to give it this test, my test was is this the right decision for my family, secondly the staff which is the heart of this place and their mobility, the brand we’ve been building and then me. It’s about all those other things. The more we grow, the more I’m able to give these key players a chance to grow and run their own stores. We can have more accountability. I have five or six people that care about Local as much as we do. I’ve had my eye on the I-10 corridor for some time, but it’s a difficult nut to crack. On changes to expect: I went to LA and hung out with the guys at Stumptown a few months ago. I’ve been wanting to work on our iced coffee, we’ll have two options available. We developed a relationship with Tweed out of Dallas. Every three or four months, they source 10 to 15 single-origin coffee from farmers from around the world. We’ll cup that coffee and choose which we’ll serve seasonally.  We keep that available for retail. One of the coffee options will be from Tweed and the other from another roaster. The coolest thing is that it’ll be on tap. We’re pushing our coffee with nitrous so it won’t affect the taste, but it will be chilled. It’s something new that we’re playing with. We’re also working to bring in growlers that you can take to go in the spring. Two espresso machines instead of one which will give us a few options on how to run our bar. We have a whole island for our pour over coffees which means we’ll be able to offer four or so. By doubling, we’re able to execute the in-and-out traffic. Open bar area with TWO espresso machines. Light fixtures made from Pearl Brewery tank gauges.

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