I checked in with owner Lesa Wood for details. When I talked to her in May, she said she planned to concentrate on roasting only for a while. Why the return to retail? She says she found herself so charmed by a 100-year-old storefront on Eighth Avenue near Douglas Corner that she leased it not only for roasting operations, but to house a coffeehouse as well. “It’s just the perfect fit for that,” she said.
Wood and her team are renovating the space, opening up long-obscured windows and exposing brick walls and the original floors. “It’s going to feel very warm,” she said.
The new Roast Inc. will serve espresso and pour-over brews by the cup, just as the original did, but Wood said she’s also working on ideas for how to offer “a premium coffee experience for folks with limited time.”
After all, she plans to open at 6:30 a.m. to serve folks heading down the Eighth Avenue corridor to offices downtown. It would be wonderful to be able to grab a quick but high-quality cup. I’ll be interested to see how her ideas play out.
Wood hopes to open the coffeehouse by Nov. 1. She said they’re looking for ideas and input from the community, and she’s encouraging people to stop by the Roast Inc. booth at the 12South Farmers’ Market, which takes place every Tuesday (including today) from 3:30 to 6:30 p.m., through November. You can also pick up a bag of freshly roasted beans while you’re there.
I'm a big fan of Roast Inc.'s bottled iced coffee, but Wood told me that product is on hiatus for the season and won't be in stores again until the spring. But she expects to have a supply in the grab-and-go case at the new cafe. (The Vietnamese-style iced coffee, which is creamy with just a hint of sugar, is especially good. Winter or not, I'd drink that stuff for a special treat.)
A version of this story appeared in my Food Biz column in this week's print edition of The City Paper and online in the Nashville Post.