Coffee at The Point opened for business this week, with the full beverage, food and dessert menu available to Crossroads Theater patrons next door and anyone else who needs a kidney-punch of espresso made with Denver's own Novo coffee. Owners Ryan Cobbins, his wife Maggie and brother Donovan have morphed the defunct Blackberries at 710 East 26th Avenue into an amiable community sanctuary complete with icy gelato for warm summer nights, and hot soups and sandwiches for chilly winter days.
The menu is no-brainer coffee-shop fare, including a simple but filling sandwich of sliced roast beef and melted Fontina cheese on fresh Ciabatta bread with a side of horseradish-dill sauce.
Yesterday's daily soup offering of a savory tomato-portabella mushroom made a fine pairing with the tuna melt with cheddar on wheat bread, which was thick and satisfying with crisp bits of Granny Smith apple and plenty of mayo.
The baristas flaunt their A game with a fine, rich mocha latte, complete with frothy crema heart, and some real, old-school customer service -- an increasing rarity in the empire of chain coffee shops. Ryan joked with his baristas about how he carefully screened them with three job interviews each. He has high expectations of the staff, but he and his wife also put themselves through professional barista training in preparation for their business venture.
And the Cobbins' dedication to creating an inviting refuge for their customers doesn't end there. The walls are ornamented with local Marni Mattner's photography, there's a well-stocked bookshelf for patrons to read while they're in the shop, and they can even borrow books on the honor system.
The store's merchandise is all kept in the open, but when asked about the potential for these items to be purloined, Ryan chuckled. "Stealing our coffee mugs is free advertising...if you can make it out the door with one of those," he said, gesturing to the large, heavy jars full of coffee beans for purchase, "then you probably deserve it." As for the books, "If anyone steals a book, we're contributing to literacy."
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Cobbins struck a deal with local Cottonwood Cellars to supply the shop with wine for customers who want something a little more festive than coffee, and this may come in handy for the awkward craigslist blind daters, who have a semi-private spot, dimly lit, in the back with bistro tables for two. "This was Donovan's idea--an intimate atmosphere," said Ryan.
A grand opening celebration is scheduled for the first week of December, and although the salient details are still being worked out, there is talk of live music and wine and gelato tastings. A lighting ceremony and a Santa Claus for the kids is planned for November 26.
Coffee at The Point's success would be a boon for the ongoing, and often stymied, Five Points revitalization effort -- and with any luck, will attract java junkies from every neighborhood to its doorstep.
The coffee's on at Coffee at The Point at 6 a.m. weekdays, and at 7 a.m. on weekends. Monday through Saturday, the shop is open until 9 p.m. (Sunday it's 6 p.m.), although hours may go later when there are events at Crossroads or Cervantes across the street.