A Few Changes at Heights Ashbury Coffeehouse

It all started with a rogue Tweet a few months ago. My favorite vegan tamale venture -- Radical Eats -- sent out a Tweet that they would now be serving food at a permanent location, specifically a new coffee house called the Heights Ashbury Coffeehouse on 19th Street. Previously limited to enjoying these treats at the Saturday-morning Urban Harvest farmers' market, I was instantly excited at the prospect of getting my vegan tamale on whenever I wanted.

I stopped by and had a nice visit -- and a killer cup of Balinese Blue Moon coffee -- with owner Katy Whelan about her new shop: a coffee house, a juice bar, a vegan tamale kitchen, a music venue, and an all-around haven for locals. "Local" being the key word, because Katy wants Heights Ashbury to be a hub for Houstonians in the Heights.

But within a week or two of my visit to Heights Ashbury, Katharine Shilcutt posted her piece -- First Look at Heights Ashbury -- and in the comments section the information emerged that Radical Eats would no longer be operating at Heights Ashbury. I made arrangements to meet with Katy and chat about what's new at the new coffee house.

What I discovered was that the departure of Radical Eats was simply a matter of space--they needed more kitchen room than the Heights Ashbury space could offer, and so moved on to a new location at 3903 Fulton. As of last week Heights Ashbury was still looking for kitchen staff, but Katy assured me that coffee making and juicing (courtesy of Juicy in the Sky) are still in full swing. Katy wants to craft a vegetarian, but not strictly vegan menu, and in the meantime you can pick up lots of goodies to snack on from several outside vendors: Kraftsman Bakery quiche, Angela's Oven croissants, and biscotti from Cakes on Call, to name a few.

Plans for the coffeehouse include bringing even more art and music to the Heights Ashbury space. On Saturday, July 2, the coffee house will host an art show for "Uncle" Charlie Hardwick from 6 to 10 p.m. The larger goal is to host performance art in on weekends, and to make Heights Ashbury the go-to meeting and gathering place for groups big and small. Organizations that wish to hold their meetings at the coffee house are welcome; call the coffee house directly at 713-862-7018. Heights Ashbury is currently a "BYOB" establishment, so feel free to bring along your elixir of choice.

The Heights Ashbury Coffeehouse is located at 242 W. 20th St. in the Heights. Store hours: Tuesday-Friday 7 a.m.-6 p.m.; Saturday 8 a.m.-6 p.m.; Sunday 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Closed Monday.

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Christina Uticone