We're now in the final calendar week of summer, which means there are just a scant few Build-Outs left to feature in our 2016 series. For this build, we journey to La Mesa, California, a suburb of San Diego, where it's summer year-round and the craft beer flows like cool water from a mountain spring. As you might guess, this cafe has ample outdoor seating; what you might not have guessed is Public Square's commitment to taking coffee in a culinary direction, featuring several of the best roasters in the American West and handsome gear from Saint Anthony Industries, among others.
As told to Sprudge by Jacob Dempsey of Public Square Coffee.
For those who aren't familiar, will you tell us about your company?
The world doesn’t need another cafe. You know this. We know this. And yet, here we are. Why? Because what the world does need is connection.
People are busy. We spend a majority of our days bumping into one another without noticing. Our eyes are on phones and our noses in laptops, working, staying busy, and attempting some semblance of relationship. Truth is, we’re not actually connecting at all. Not authentically. We believe that people need a more genuine type of contact… something real. Public Square is a place for exactly that: a place to see and be seen, a place to hear and be heard, and a place to serve and be served. We will do this in three ways: coffee, culture, and cause.
Can you tell us a bit about the new space?
Public Square will feature spacious indoor and outdoor seating and a stage for nightly events. Concerts, open-mic nights, poetry readings, spoken word—anything and everything that allows members of the community to tell their tale and hear the stories of others. Like the public squares of old, this is a place to share. We want to know you. We want the world to know you. We want you to know others. Every square inch of the Public Square will be designed and orchestrated to facilitate this environment.
What's your approach to coffee?
The sky is the limit. Believing everything is worth experimenting. We understand the traditional views of coffee even in the specialty scene but pushing the “limits” is an adventure we want to take. Taking it to a culinary level. Willing to fail forward. This leads us to try things we've always dreamt of as baristas. Public Square is our chance to finally tear down walls that have been before us and finally place our visions and dreams on a menu. We hope the outcome shows our passion, love, exploration, and creativity.
Any machines, coffees, special equipment lined up?
La Marzocco Linea Classic, Mahlkönig EK 43, Mahlkönig K30, Mahlkönig Peak (on its way), Baratza Forte AP, Wilbur Curtis water tower and batch brew. Using Augies Coffee Roasters, Huckleberry Roasters, Olympia Coffee Roasting Company, Common Good Coffee Roasters, and Summit Tea Company. We're also using tampers, aprons, glasses, and custom portafilters from Saint Anthony Industries.
What's your hopeful target opening date/month?
Are you working with craftspeople, architects, and/or creatives that you'd like to mention?
– Rob Nelson, the original architect on this project, sadly he passed before he could see his vision come to life.
– Justin Erholtz graciously picked up where Rob left off and saw his vision through.
– Chris Henderson, of FLB Laser, provided amazing laser work to help with our unique identity.
– Saint Anthony Industries, helping our baristas feel comfortable and professional through their beautiful custom equipment.
Photos courtesy of Jacob Dempsey and Ale Dempsey.