For the team at Sprudge—and for many of you readers at home—our 2021 Build-Outs of Coffee series serves as a bit of gloriously unencumbered vicarious travel. There is no 10-day quarantine required, no $300 rental car, and no pernicious Airbnb fees that look like they cost one thing but then you click through and it’s twice as expensive—you can simply jet-set off to Seoul or London or heck, even Birmingham, and explore brand new cafes from the comfort of wherever you’re comfortable.
All that to say, the joy of discovery need not always take us far afield. Take, for example, today’s spotlight, which features Lolo Pass in southeast Portland, Oregon, just a few blocks away from where Sprudge Media Network is hubbed. Whether it’s a journey ’round the world, or a toddle down the street, we love bringing you these Build-Outs from near and far.
As told to Sprudge by Lauren Gonzalez.
For those who aren’t familiar, will you tell us about your company?
Lolo Pass is a hotel/hostel hybrid concept. We just opened in May on Portland’s Eastside. We have 87 rooms to accommodate guests in shared dorm rooms as well as private rooms. As people are starting to travel again, we want everyone to have the social, interactive experience of a hostel but still have the comfort and privacy of a hotel. We also want our hotel to be a part of a guest’s experience in Portland, not just a place to sleep at night. To that end our interior design reflects modern Portland design. Our coffee is all local and planned to highlight small roasters as well as better known ones. We have an art gallery in the space that shows all local artists. Our bar and restaurant menus really reflect local produce, wines made in the Willamette Valley and beers brewed in our neighborhood. My sister Lee and I own the company and have been opening/operating hostels (previously in Barcelona and NYC) since 2006.
Can you tell us a bit about the new space?
We built the building ground-up and finished construction earlier this winter. The coffee bar area is a prominent part of our lobby. The custom casework is built of wood with a black and white quartz counter, hand-painted clay tile backsplash, and plants integrated throughout. We want guests to immediately feel comfortable when they enter and feel free to grab a coffee and go sit anywhere in the lobby, the gallery, up on the roof or out on our sidewalk. We also view the coffee bar as a way to draw in locals and neighbors as well.
What’s your approach to coffee?
Our goal is to introduce guests and treat locals to the best of Portland. So we’re going to serve coffee from a variety of roasters big and small from around Portland. We want everything to be very approachable and casual but executed at a high level so that we can satisfy guests who just want their morning caffeine fix but also geek out with interested customers about the nuance and minutiae. Above all, we want everyone to feel welcome.
Any machines, coffees, special equipment lined up?
We’ve got a La Marzocco Linea EE, Kony S grinders for espresso, a Curtis brewer, and a Mahlkönig Gua 710 grinder. We’re going to serve Coava coffee as our sort of anchor and then hope to rotate in coffee from some of our favorite small roasters like SuperJoy Coffee, Marigold Coffee, Proud Mary, and others. We would love to bring some of these roasters in as guest baristas or to do cuppings or talks in our space. We want to tell peoples’ stories as well as serve their coffee.
How is your project considering sustainability?
It’s really hard with COVID restrictions as we are currently doing most coffee to go, but we’ve purchased all compostable cups, lids, straws, stirrers, etc with that in mind. Our whole project is working to be as little waste as possible, so we’re trying to compost and recycle as much as we possibly can. We’re also trying to buy everything we can locally to reduce our carbon footprint in that way.
Are you working with craftspeople, architects, and/or creatives that you’d like to mention?