Plaza 38 at Lowell, a new food hall concept occupying the ground level of apartment buildings at 3550 West 38th Avenue, is tentatively scheduled to open in early summer. In addition to several food vendors, there will be a bar, an ice cream shop, and, most important if you're a caffeine hound, coffee, provided by Joe Maxx Coffee Co.
Joe Maxx, a family-owned coffee company out of Ohio, joined the Art District on Santa Fe in the fall of 2017, opening an art-filled cafe at 869 Santa Fe Drive. Business and real-life partners Lahna Saccone and Nicholas Caparso sought to add some of their own unique style to the thriving art scene in the area, and to stand out for their coffee and food offerings.
"The Santa Fe shop is our flagship store, our baby," says Saccone. "It suits both the neighborhood it's in and is exactly our taste. [The new Joe Maxx] is going to be a little less psychedelic-bohemian."
Instead, she says, it will be, "a mix of our vibes and the space that's already been built out: rustic industrial, but more modern." They plan to incorporate some of their signature 1960s-inspired colors into a coffee- and produce-themed mural, accented by the abundant natural light of the new building, which was constructed in 2018.
The appeal of the first location was the reason for their choice for the second: an older, stand alone building with lots of character comes with just as many quirks and responsibilities, so they wanted something simpler for their followup. "It's a lot for us to handle, because it's just us," says Saccone. "We decided because of how much of a project [Santa Fe] was and continues to be, in such an old building...that it was going to be our only [stand-alone] Denver location."
Serendipitously, the couple discovered Plaza 38 and found that the owner — Denver businessman Gene Lucero — was looking for a coffee vendor that didn't need very much kitchen space. It was a match made in coffee heaven, and will allow guests to experience multiple combinations of coffee, alcohol and ice cream, since the other vendors will be able to contribute their products. "I have already expressed my interest to the owners that I would love to provide the bar with our coffee for Irish coffees and other coffee-infused cocktails, and to possibly use the ice cream shop’s ice cream for affogatos, as well," says Saccone.
Joe Maxx at Plaza 38 will offer much of the same food and beverage options as the original, including breakfast sandwiches, grab-and-go items from Share Good, and pastries from Handcraft Bakery. The only item left off the menu will be toasts, because of the limited kitchen real estate. But with several other food options sharing the space, including Taco Connection and Camila's Mexican Grill (with others awaiting confirmation), visitors will not go hungry.
"I'm very lucky," says Saccone. "Not everyone is able to work with their romantic partner. Opening a business is extremely hard, but we are both so congruent. We are already hands-full, but this feels handleable."
Saccone predicts Joe Maxx will be ready to open in about six weeks, but he intends to wait until June, when the bar and ice cream shop should be ready, to synch up for a grand opening, with food options to join at a later date.
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