As told to Sprudge by Chris Vigilante.
The days of summer might be waning, but our global survey of new cafes under construction or recently opened—The Build-Outs of Coffee—continues to be essential here through the transitional days, like a light jacket over your favorite t-shirt. Today we're checking out Vigilante Coffee, a specialty coffee company that got its start on the east coast, and are now getting ready to make waves with their first project in California.
For those who aren’t familiar, will you tell us about your company?
Vigilante Coffee is a specialty coffee roaster that started in Washington DC in 2012. Chris learned coffee from seed to cup in Hawaii then moved to DC and began roasting in a row house basement. Through farmers markets, pop ups, and growing wholesale the company grew and in 2014 we opened up our Hyattsville, Maryland roastery and cafe and coffee lab. In 2018 we established our second cafe in College Park, Maryland. We are focused on sourcing our coffees directly as possible. We participate in coffee auctions at origin and develop multi-year relationships with our farmers all over the world. (Check out our transparency page). We roast for customers across the country so our growth to California was definitely motivated by that. In the beginning of 2021 we signed the lease on our new building and began work shortly thereafter. it has been a long time dream for us to open up a west coast roastery and we fell in love with Oceanside. This iconic building will house our first west coast cafe as well.
Can you tell us a bit about the new space?
The roastery/cafe is 3500 square feet. A former college of beauty building, its iconic architecture makes it stand out. The cafe will seat about 30 and the roastery operation will be visible to the customer so they can see the whole process from roast to brew.
What’s your approach to coffee?
Source world class coffees, roast them delicately and with terroir at the forefront. Use our business as a force for good and spend our money wisely, supporting like minded partners. Making moves that are good for our customers, our company, and the planet. Ultimately, we just wanna leave the game better than we found it and bring people an experience that uplifts them. Both from a quality standpoint and a service standpoint.
Any machines, coffees, special equipment lined up?
How is your project considering sustainability?
We are dedicated to moving towards a zero waste operation (an ongoing pursuit). From compostable and recyclable to-go items in our cafes, to compostable coffee bags, and fully recyclable packaging for online orders. Our cafes compost all of our used coffee grounds. On the coffee sourcing/roasting side we aim to work as closely with the producer as possible. If we’re working with importers, which we most definitely are, many of our partners are Certified B corps. We’re just aiming to do business the best way, where all parties benefit and sustain long and fruitful relationships.
What’s your hopeful target opening date/month?
Late fall of 2021
Are you working with craftspeople, architects, and/or creatives that you’d like to mention?
Lumber Cycle for our wood tables