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As the name suggests, Black Black Coffee started out as bare bones cafe when it opened in the Taxi Development in 2014. Its simple menu was focused around espresso and pour-overs, to be imbibed sans cream and sugar. Meanwhile, hungry folks looked to nearby Fuel and Refuel for eats.
But once the cafes shuttered last December, Black Black owner Josh McNeilly saw an opportunity to expand. At the end of January, the Black Black team took over the Refuel space and began dishing up a concise menu of sandwiches, salads, and grab-and-go items. Well-crafted options like the Sammie Bing Bing (a runny egg, chipotle aïoli, Boursin cheese, arugula, and a choice of avocado or bacon) and the Mile High Club (turkey, bacon, avocado, white cheddar, sprouts, and basil aïoli) have encouraged customers to rethink Black Black. Rather than a quick coffee stop, it’s now operates as a legit, tucked-away weekday eatery.
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The expansion filled a hole in Taxi, but it’s also in-line with the direction many modern coffee shops are going. Increasingly, local cafes are courting all-day customers by growing their offerings from java and snacks to full-on meals and booze.
To wit: Black Eye Coffee’s second location in Cap Hill functions as a full-service restaurant, bar, and bakery; Cafe Max has morphed into Bar Max, and it’s more of a Euro-inspired hangout than coffee shop; Amethyst Coffee Company rolled out cocktails and evening hours in February; even Starbucks is pushing vino and small plates to boost evening business.
In recent news, Huckleberry Roasters’ Larimer Street location is slowly transforming from craft coffee shop into Port Side, an casual eatery bolstered by the hiring of chef Chris Bell (formerly of Potager) and an impending liquor license. And while Black Black Coffee doesn’t have plans to serve dinner or alcohol (at least, not in the present location), McNeilly has seen a positive response to the menu additions. “Coffee isn’t a high priced item, so you have to sell a lot of it to make ends meet. Sandwiches help the bottom line,” he says.
The all-day coffee shop-eatery trend is one we can get behind. After all, who hasn’t gotten hungry during a laptop work session and had to begrudgingly relocate to find provisions? Or wished that he or she had access to a single-origin espresso post-lunch? And if it helps local coffee shops diversify in an increasingly saturated and competitive market, then all the better.
3459 Ringsby Ct., 720-316-7701