There are few things in this world better than starting your day with really good coffee and a really good bagel. But this, inexplicably, is exceedingly rare. It’s either a good cafe with a disappointing bread round or it’s a delicious, fluffy bagel but served with a side of black char water. And then there is Pavement Coffeehouse in Boston, Massachusetts, who started out as a bagel company before expanding their horizons into the world of coffee. It’s a match made in heaven.
And now, with their seventh location, Pavement is getting into the roasting game. Having long been a Counter Culture stalwart in the greater Boston area, Pavement is moving to the other side of the roaster to produce coffee for their own cafes, including their brand new roastery/cafe in a former warehouse for Harvard University. Roasting, baking, a cafe, everything that is right and good is all under one roof at the brand new Pavement Coffeehouse in Boston.
As told to Sprudge by Larry Margulies.
For those who aren’t familiar, will you tell us about your company?
We are a local Boston company with seven cafe locations. We have our roots in the bagel business, providing our customers with fresh, kettle-boiled bagels. For the last 10 years we have been continually focused on pushing our coffee program forward to accompany our bagel program. We served Counter Culture Coffee at all locations and have recently built our own roasting facility.
Can you tell us a bit about the new space?
Our new space is the culmination of many years of planning. We’ve wanted to roast since 2011, but the company had other growth opportunities that had to come first. In time, we found ourselves with two separate bakery locations, a separate office location, and 6 cafes to manage. It took us a couple years to find the perfect location for us to bring the whole company together in a 5,000-square-foot building that could house our baking facilities, an office headquarters, a cafe, and most importantly a roasting space.
In 2016, Harvard University approached us about an old warehouse that they own. They were looking to invest in the building and “activate” it for the local community. The building needed a lot of work, but the location and size made it the perfect space for us. The partnership proved successful as we transformed a dilapidated, windowless warehouse, into a 20 seat cafe with patio, coffee roastery, bakery with a commissary kitchen, and office HQ.
What’s your approach to coffee?
Our customers are coming to us for our cafe environment, our bagels, and our coffee, so we serve coffees on our batch brewer that are delicious and approachable for a broad audience. For espresso, our Rathskeller Blend is typically a 50/50 blend of two washed coffees—one from Ethiopia and one from Central or South America. For the rest of our coffees, which we offer by the cup on a Poursteady in our new cafe and offered in retail bags at all of our locations, we look for interesting, dynamic, sparkly coffees from a variety of origins.
Any machines, coffees, special equipment lined up?
We are roasting on a Loring S15. We are loving the consistency of the roast and repeatability of workflow that the software and design allows. We are also psyched about Boston’s first Poursteady three-cup brewing system that we had installed. This lets us roast and feature coffees that are more unique and interesting in a single-cup format, while mitigating some of the service bottlenecks that can accompany manual brewing services.
What’s your hopeful target opening date/month?
We are open!
Are you working with craftspeople, architects, and/or creatives that you’d like to mention?
Shout out to Lana Kirby at Lana Kirby Design. She has designed all seven of our locations.
The Build-Outs Of Summer is an annual series on Sprudge. Live the thrill of the build all summer long in our Build-Outs feature hub.