Melbourne, Australia's Proud Mary Coffee are set to open a cafe in Portland, Oregon in November of 2016. As first reported by Broadsheet—a sort of non-corporate Australian version of Eater—Proud's founder Nolan Hirte (pictured above) has big plans for transforming the PDX coffee scene.
The cafe is set to open in a lease on Alberta and 20th, across the street from the original Salt & Straw location. Hirte, whose Proud Mary brand in Melbourne includes offshoots Stagger Lee and Aunty Peg's (profiled by Sprudge last year) tells Broadsheet: “I honestly reckon it’s harder and more risky for me to do another three cafes here in Melbourne than it is to go to the other side the planet and do something I know really well, in an area where there’s nothing.”
Alberta St. is currently home to cafe offerings by Barista, the noted multi-roaster, as well as an airy two-floor space from Portland local roaster Case Study Coffee, and a cafe outpost of Seattle's Caffe Vita.
Of the current coffee scene in Portland, Hirte tells Broadsheet, “One of the big holes there is service. Not in restaurants, not in bars. In coffee shops and cafes.” His new cafe will clock at just under 3000 square feet, and will include a full kitchen manned by Melbourne chef Barney Hannegan. Plans also call for an off-site roaster, and he looks to the Portland market as ripe for Proud Mary to sell wholesale coffee around town.
This impending project from Hirte and co. follows in the footsteps of Mark Dundon & Russell Beard's successful Paramount Coffee Project in Los Angeles, winner of the 2016 Sprudgie Award for Best New Cafe. Dundon is the founder of Melbourne's Seven Seeds coffee roaster & cafe brand, while Beard founded Reuben Hills in Sydney. Melbourne's incredibly saturated cafe market has brands looking to America for cache and growth, and it's not a trend we see slowing down soon.
Top photo by Eileen P. Kenny for Sprudge.com.