While Sacramento has no shortage of specialty coffee shops, there are many neighborhoods outside of Downtown and Midtown still untapped by these small business craft cafes. For Sacramento’s outlying suburb of Fair Oaks, Pause Coffee House has arrived to bring an artisan niche to an otherwise Starbucks-centric coffee culture.
The idea for Pause Coffee began as a joke between friends nearly 4 years ago—a wild idea that owners Paul Magda and Dardy Urulescu didn’t believe would ever come to fruition. But when Magda and Urulescu decided they wanted to create a place where they could share their love of coffee, that started them on a journey that included a year and a half search for a building and another year and half effort to build out the space.
On why they chose Fair Oaks, Magda noted the sparsity of craft coffee in the area, saying simply, “We are looking to bring specialty coffee to areas that don’t have it.”
The location on Madison Ave. and Fair Oaks Blvd. gave them nearly 2600 sq. ft. of brightly lit floor space. Importance of quality and attention to detail are evident upon arrival. The aesthetic of the space is industrial and modern with warm touches. Edison light bulbs drip from the ceilings, raw brick and wood covers every surface, and leather and velvet furniture rests in nooks surrounding the coffee bar.
Magda and Urulescu have construction backgrounds and their experience is palpable.
“Almost everything you see here we hand built,” says Magda. Tables, chairs, doors, light fixtures and even the coffee bar were hand-made by the owners.
This idea of having a hands-on approach to their business resonates in the service and sourcing of their product as well. Nearly every aspect of Pause Coffee is locally-based. The coffee is sourced from Loomis micro-roaster Valiant Coffee, Sacramento’s Sweet Dozen donuts are served fresh daily, Brittle California from Fair Oaks is available, and loose-leaf craft tea comes from California’s own Art of Tea.
“We definitely wanted to invest in the community,” says Magda. “That’s a big thing for us.”
A unique element of the shop’s design is the centrality of the service counter. Baristas execute their craft in a floating coffee bar as customers sit at the tables and seating areas that surround it. The idea to place the counter in the middle of the space was intentional for more than just design purposes.
“It allows people to come into the barista’s world,” explained Urulescu, “[to] see what they do, experience it, ask questions.”
Superior service, says the owners, is equally as important as the quality of product at Pause. Staff were hand selected for their extensive experience in the coffee industry–and it shows.
Baristas are more than willing to help patrons select the ideal beverage. If tea is your forte, try the 12-hour cold brew Passionfruit Jasmine over ice on a summer day. Or for a nice dose of caffeine in the morning, Urulescu recommends his favorite, the Cortado—a Spain-originating beverage that is roughly equal parts milk and espresso.
Celebrate Pause Coffee’s arrival in the community by attending their grand opening event this Saturday, May 12 at 6pm. There will be live music, giveaways, and a catered spread.
Pause Coffee House is located at 8121 Madison Ave, Suite A-1, Fair Oaks. They’re open 7 days a week, 6am-9pm. Connect with Pause by following them on Instagram @PauseCoffeeHouse or visiting them at pausecoffee.house.
Photos by Bethany Harris