Situated amongst gastro pubs, hipster dives, craft beer bars, and a coffee shop or two sits Transit Bicycle Company in Dallas’s finally-cool-again Lower Greenville neighborhood. On Saturday, April 12th it was home to the first Dallas pop-up for Austin’s Houndstooth Coffee, officially marking the shop’s introduction to the North Texas coffee scene. It’s the first step in Houndstooth owner Sean Henry’s master plan for northern expansion, and it portends good things to come for coffee in Dallas.
Transit is a beautiful full-service bike lifestyle shop that recently relocated into the Lower Greenville neighborhood from their original Uptown location. They've hosted pop-ups in the past (including those from Commonwealth Coffee co-founder Jason Farrar, before he packed up his Astoria lever espresso machine and headed out west), making them an ideal location for Houndstooth and Dallas to begin their courtship. But the two are not strangers: Tweed Coffee, the moniker for Houndstooth's in-house roasting arm, has been based out of East Dallas since its inception last year, though the pop-up marks the first time Houndstooth proper has come to town. “We're excited to host folks for coffee here in Dallas,” Henry stated. “I've been thinking and working on Dallas for so long now that I'm very ready for it to finally materialize. Slow is good, but it is certainly hard to be patient while all the pieces come together.”
Set up in an elevated DJ booth surrounded on all sides by bikes, frames, and components, Henry and Jonathan Aldrich, the 2013 South Central Brewers Cup winner and Tweed Head Roaster, presented a simple yet diverse menu to locals. For espressos and cappuccinos, the guys were equipped with a La Marzocco GS/3 and a Nuova Simonelli Mythos grinder filled with Tweed’s YirgZ. A fresh crop Kochere imported through Keffa Coffee, the YirgZ was harvested in November and December of 2013 on into early 2014 and is Tweed’s newest offering.
For brewed coffee, Henry and Aldrich came armed with two Clevers, a Bonavita variable temperature kettle, and a Baratza Vario grinder, also filled with the YirgZ. Aldrich said that getting the chance to work behind the espresso machine again “was awesome. I love roasting but there’s something infinitely appealing about making coffee for people. I don’t get a chance to get behind the bar often, but when I do I never turn it down.”
The pop-up was the first of many Henry is planning for Dallas in order to build excitement around the eventual opening of the brick-and-mortar Houndstooth in the Knox-Henderson neighborhood. “We are still scheduling pop-ups at retail spots and restaurants within a half mile of our store. We want to get the word out and meet people,” Henry told me. “After the Henderson shop opens, we just hope guests show up and enjoy our new space. We'll see what happens from there.” Construction on Houndstooth's permanent Dallas shop will be underway soon, and Henry is hopeful the shop will be open by late summer.
During its four short hours of existence, the pop-up offered Dallas residents a glimpse at what will surely be among the most anticipated shops to here this year. The arrival of nationally-esteemed Houndstooth shows that the thriving North Texas coffee scene may soon be approaching equal footing with cities like Austin and Houston, part of the wider boom in top quality coffee happening right now across the Lone Star State.
Photos by Cara Michelle Smith (@caramsmith) for Sprudge.com.