Before Insight Coffee Roasters opened its doors at 8th and S streets nearly 17 months ago, there were plans to open other locations.
So when the Southside roastery announced its plans to extend its caffeinated reach to 16 Powerhouse, a building that has yet to be erected, some were surprised, and others not so much.
In an announcement on its Facebook page, Insight said the company will be partnering with D&S Development on the 16 Powerhouse project, "a super cool, sustainable, green mixed-use development."
The coffee shop will be located on the corner of Powerhouse Alley (1601 16th Street), with a large patio, much bicycle parking and an "activated alleyway." The groundbreaking for the building will be held in May or June, and the business could open in mid-2014, said Chris Ryan, a partner at Insight.
"This location in the heart of downtown has extra special meaning for us, not because of amazing park across the street or cool neighbors (Hot Italian & Orchid Thai!) but because of the history," the announcement read. "Lucky’s father was an integral part of the neighborhood development around Fremont Park many years ago. As a young child, Lucky spent countless hours in the park and surrounding neighborhood so our love of this community is strong. Now twenty plus years later, we couldn’t be more excited to be committed to this great neighborhood and project!"
Insight Coffee Roasters opened in December 2011, and prides itself in directly sourcing its beans from countries such as Brazil, Indonesia, El Salvador, and Costa Rica. It takes a minimalistic approach to its menu and interior design, which seems to work well with regulars. All the metal and wood fixtures and furniture were hand-made by Lucky, the head owner.
Without giving away all the goods, Ryan said the new location will focus on coffee’s educational components. "From the inception we’ve had bigger plans to do more educational programs," he said. "From the farm to the roastery to the cafe, there’s a whole lot of exciting stuff to learn about."
He attributed the company’s quick growth to its quality product, and its leader, Lucky. "Lucky is extremely talented and as passionate as you can be for quality coffee," Ryan said. "He does a great job of selecting the coffee, and roasting it to the right degree."
Lucky was unavailable for comment Tuesday, as he has plans to fly out to Nicaragua to build relationships with coffee farmers. However some loyal customers who recently heard the news were happy to chime in on why they prefer Insight over other Sacramanto coffee roasters.
It’s "straight from the farmer," as Travis Avampato put it, who visits the roastery every morning with his bicycle buddies. Due to its location at 1901 8th Street, it’s a bit out of the way from the rest of the city, "which is cool in a way," he said.
Besides enjoying the coffee, the atmosphere is chill and the regulars are all super friendly, said Sean Hays.
Shaun Sutton said he’s not surprised Insight is expanding after only a little over a year in business. "It’s the best coffee in town," he said. "You don’t have to dress it up with sugar and cram, you can drink it straight."
When it comes to future expansion plans, Ryan said there will definitely be other Insight locations opening up, but there is nothing concrete at the moment.
"We love our homebase, but there are other people who don’t live near Southside, and would want to see one in their neighborhood," he said.
Editor’s note: The “News Digest” goes out every Tuesday morning and highlights our best stories, photos and videos from the week prior. Sign me up.