Eater reports that Café con Leche has opened a second cafe cafe in Detroit's New Center District, and if these photos by Michelle & Chris Gerard are any indication, it's a stunner. The cafe will serve up coffees selected from Detroit's own Germack Coffee and Anthology Coffee, as well as Ugly Mug Coffee out of Ypsilanti, Michigan and Populace Coffee of Bay City, Michigan. These microroasters share space on the pour-over bar, complimented by a playful espresso & signature drink menu that includes a traditional champurrado and a drink called the “Don Bigote”, a spicy chipotle Mexican mocha.
Sprudge sat down digitally with co-owner Jordi Carbonell to learn more about the new cafe, built out over the long summer months of 2014 and now open for business in Detroit.
Can you tell us a bit about your new space?
Café con Leche Nord is nestled in the New Center District among the architectural landmarks of the Fischer Building, the renovated Taubman Center, home of Shinola, and the College for Creative Studies, among other noteworthy endeavors. The Boulevard West Building was originally an annex of the General Motors world headquarters, situated across the street, to house senior management. The Boulevard West Building was originally built in the early part of the century and updated with a modern mid-century façade in the early 1960s. The site is adjacent to New Center Park, who hosts a summer concert series. Our suite was originally an office, then a bank, and now a Latin specialty coffee house to service the ever-growing population in the area of both professionals, students and residents.
What's your approach to coffee?
We believe all people deserve great coffee, and why not spice it up with some Latin favorites? The owners come from both Latin backgrounds (Spanish and Mexican) and so we want to showcase some specialties and innovations to the larger population. Café con Leche – Central (our flagship) has been able to bring people together to help with the re-emergence of the Detroit while sipping some great coffee from local roasters, and transporting people with our exotic specialties. We want to bring this same experience to the New Center District.
Any machines, coffees, special equipment lined up?
Our design is trying to pay homage to the mid-century greatness of Detroit so we wanted something that alluded to that period. We opted to go with Faema E91 Ambassador [espresso machine] that was inspired from the E61 of the 1960s. This allows our baristas to still work with the craft and not be constrained with electronics and digital stuff you find with other machines. Its emphasis on temperature control, steaming and reliability makes it our choice.
Are you working with craftsmen/women, architects, and/or creatives that you'd like to mention?
The architect for the cafe space is the small, Detroit-based firm uRbanDetail. They specialize in working with entrepreneurial start-ups and small local businesses. The principal in charge, Noah Resnick, believes every project is a true collaborative effort between the designers, client, and builders. Also, we are working with local furniture craftsman Julian del Campo originally from Chile and New York. He is using reclaimed wood from blighted homes in the Detroit to create our tables. He is marrying his time spent growing up in Chile with his time studying design in New York to create vibrant style of furniture in Detroit. Kia Arriaga, a local Mexican artist, is designing an abstract mural that will be part of the counter.
Photos by Michelle & Chris Gerard for Café con Leche.