What was once a building on the verge of destruction is now home to flourishing new Portland destination—a landmark new hotel with undeniably good coffee.
Since launching in 2014, Portland's Good Coffee has grown into one of the city's leading reputable coffee companies, with an emphasis on hospitality and creative coffee concoctions. Founders (and brothers) Nick and Sam Purvis now manage a staff of 27 people across four locations throughout the city. Their latest, at the beautiful new Woodlark Hotel, is part of the wider hospitality work happening under the banner of “The House of Welcome,” which includes a packed new restaurant (Bullard), pre-Prohibition cocktail lounge (Abigail Hall), and the hotel itself, a completely redesigned 150 room boutique that started life as the Cornelius Hotel in 1908.
Good Coffee's outpost here is a classic lobby coffee bar, with a primary focus on guests of the hotel who visit the space. As a city that’s become an attraction for foodies and coffee drinkers alike, Portland has seen an increase in tourism, and that's led to a hotel boom—new offerings from local brands (Jupiter Next) and international concerns (The Hoxton) have opened over the last six months. Co-founder Sam Purvis estimates that 75% of the customers at his new cafe are visitors to the city, which places a high bar on hospitality for his team.
“Our belief is that we provide affection through sustenance, we want everyone to feel welcome as we serve them,” Sam Purvis tells me. One of the ways in which Good Coffee looks to demonstrate their hospitality is through the concept of “lobby culture.” This culture goes further than a trendy aesthetic; it is centered around the comfort of the space for the city’s residents and guests. This creates a sense of community within the lobby.
As Good Coffee moved into their new digs, it was important to keep their brand identity while blending in with the restaurant and bar that also inhabit the space. The interior design project for the Woodlark was executed by Atlanta-based firm Smith Hanes. Woodlark tasked them to create a seamless blend between all entities in the lobby, while allowing Good Coffee to stay on brand.
“We wanted to make sure we stayed true to our identity and aesthetic,” Sam Purvis says. “The marble countertops, the plants, we wanted to have consistency within our shops collectively.”
The Woodlark building is now majority-owned and operated by women, which makes for an intriguing tieback to the building’s history. Abigail Scott Duniway, a writer and a women’s rights advocate, was rumored to hold meetings in the building in the early 1900s. Nick and Sam wanted to honor Duniway by naming a drink after her, “The Activist,” which is seen on “The Founder Series” menu. Just around the corner of Good’s coffee bar, the aforementioned Abigail Hall draws heavily on Duniway's history as an organizer and agitator for suffrage.
Elsewhere on the “Founders Series” menu guests can try “The Visionary,” which is named after part-owner Lauren Noecker Robert, as well as “The Actuator,” named after Jen Quist. Quist is part-owner of Abigail Hall and Bullard, whose small-town-Texas-meets-downtown-Portland food vibe carries over into the food menu at Good, which features breakfast burritos, overnight oats, and a range of kolaches (traditional Czech pastries, much loved throughout Texas). All of it's made in-house by the team at Bullard.
While the lush array of plants and velvet furniture may initially catch your eye, one of the more interesting pieces in the lobby is behind the coffee bar. Good is currently working with a fully-restored La Marzocco Linea Classic, which includes its classic (and discontinued) European buttons and digital shot counter. Gear here is rounded out by a FETCO Extractor Series batch brewer and a pair of Mahlkönig K30s and a Mahlkönig Guatemala grinder.
The coffee bar being placed right next to the front desk of the hotel speaks volumes about the importance of coffee to this whole operation. Most importantly, this allows Good Coffee to be on the forefront of hospitality as guests enter the 11-story space. You can literally order an espresso while you wait for your room key—the coffee bar and check-in desk are just that close.
Giovanni Fillari is Brand Marketing Specialist at Nike and the publisher of @coffeefeedpdx. He is the honorable mention Sprudgie Award recipient for Social Media in 2018. Read more Giovanni Fillari for Sprudge.