Coffeesmiths David Buehrer and Ecky Prabanto are moving on up -- literally and figuratively -- from their current digs at Greenway Coffee & Tea, located in the subterranean Greenway Plaza food court, into a new space in Montrose. Blacksmith, the pair's new coffee shop, is set to open this spring at 1018 Westheimer. The location once housed Montrose landmark Mary's.
Buehrer, whom Robb Walsh deemed a "rising star barista" in 2009, and Prabanto are two of the central figures shaping Houston's coffee scene right now. Along with other shops like Catalina and local roasters like Amaya, the tightly-knit coffee community has been attempting to push things forward for the last few years, supplying restaurants with their products, creating coffee cocktails at bars like Anvil, hosting coffee-pairing dinners and collaborating with chefs to teach them how to pull an espresso shot or choose beans. Buehrer and Prabanto have been involved every step of the way.
And although their coffee shop at Greenway Plaza hasn't waned in popularity, the duo have been swayed to the surface streets not only to provide more accessibility for their customers, but also to be a part of the ongoing collaborative project that's created Anvil and the upcoming Underbelly and Hay Merchant.
Blacksmith is co-owned by not only Buehrer and Prabanto, but also Bobby Heugel, Chris Shepherd and Kevin Floyd among others, and it will occupy the building directly next to Shepherd and Floyd's respective operations -- Underbelly and Hay Merchant.
Although people undoubtedly mourn the loss of Chances and Mary's in Montrose, at least it can be said that these types of projects are the best and highest use of old landmarks: Houston natives striving to create better restaurant, bar and coffee shop experiences for area residents, wihle trying to inspire more industry collaboration across the city. Along with news that Cafe Luz -- run by Frank Freeman -- is opening soon downtown at the Bayou Lofts and Southside Espresso -- from Sean Marshall, the roaster behind Fusion Beans -- is opening next to Uchi down the street, it's an exciting week for coffee.
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Blacksmith will offer a small kitchen in addition to its coffee shop, where beans will be roasted by Prabanto and brewed by Beuhrer. In addition, baristas from New York, New Orleans and Seattle will be staffing the shop alongside them. They expect the shops hours to be 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. seven days a week.
To keep up with construction news or ask the team questions about this newest endeavor, follow them on Twitter: @BL4CKSMITH. (I'm assuming the leetspeak is a tribute to how difficult it is to find original Twitter handles these days.)