It's been nearly a year since Helliemae's Caramel maven Ellen Daehnick first rolled out Post Oak Hall in the Wheat Ridge building at 6195 West 44th Avenue where she makes candy. There, she sells her caramels — mainstays like sea salt and the Whiskey Love Bomb, in addition to seasonal plays like harvest apple cider and candy cane — and pays homage to the foods of her Texas childhood: kolaches, Houston-style po' boys, banana pudding. She's amassed a legion of fans for her work, some who go of their way to get a taste of Texas in the Mile High, and some who just really love her caramels. But until now, those fans have had to make their pilgrimages to Post Oak on Saturdays, because that was the only day the shop was open. That's changing, though: Daehnick is expanding the business a bit, adding Fridays and coffee service, with the goal of eventually being open six days a week.
"In the almost-year we've been open, we've heard our neighbors say three things: they want us to be open more, they want us to be open earlier, and they want more coffee," says Daehnick. And she's happy to oblige. Starting tomorrow (November 10), Post Oak Hall will be open both Fridays and Saturdays from 7 a.m. until 2 p.m., a shift from the 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. schedule the cafe was running previously. And there will be coffee: espresso, drip and the usual run of lattes and cappuccinos made with beans from Pablo's, along with some special drinks like a caramel latte made with Helliemae's own confections. Drinkers can also add vanilla or almond flavoring syrups, which Daehnick and her crew are making on site.
"We don’t have many craft-coffee options in Wheat Ridge, especially in the eastern part," says the owner. "Wheat Ridge deserves that — there are a lot of people who want that." She adds, too, that the coffee bar will offer an off-menu drink called a caramilk, a hot, frothy steamed milk infused with caramel.
Daehnick hired a barista to run the coffee program, and she hopes that once Post Oak works the kinks out, hours will expand further. "The end goal is to get to the point where we’re open Monday through Saturday," she says. "I'm all about incremental."
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This weekend, the shop will offer samples of its sugar-high pie, a sweet-savory sugar pie that Daehnick describes as her riff on Momofuku Milk Bar's crack pie, in order to lure patrons to purchase one for Thanksgiving. Place an order and you can pick it up on Wednesday, November 22. And as we roll into the holiday season, Post Oak will start taking kolache orders, boxing the pastries in such a way that they're ready to slide onto a baking sheet for heating to grace a table on Christmas morning (or whenever you decide it's kolache time).