Gracenote and Coffee Trike Set to Open Espresso Bar
Jesse Baerkahn of Graffito SP, a retail development and urban advisory firm, tends to see potential in unexpected places. Case in point the Arsenal Sheds project in Watertown, a seasonal, open-air retail and food service space at the Athenahealth headquarters where local businesses like Black Magic Coffee and Guru the Caterer serve their wares out of repurposed, 200-square foot sheds.
For Graffito’s next big project, Baerkahn will try to connect existing businesses with potential shop owners to take advantage of underutilized real estate. The practice of dual-use spaces is starting to gain ground in other parts of the country, such as Brooklyn, where Parlor Coffee roastery, for example, operates out of the back of Persons of Interest barbershop. Now Baerkahn wants to bring that concept to Boston, and to push the idea forward, he’s starting with his own office.
Early this spring, Gracenote Coffee, Patrick Barter’s standout Berlin, Massachusetts roastery, will open it’s first dedicated coffee shop in the front half of Graffito SP’s Leather District office. Located at 108 Lincoln Street, the standing espresso bar will feature all manner of espresso-based drinks (i.e. cortados, Americanos, macchiatos), coffees, pastries, teas, and cold brew coffee on draft and nitro.
The 1,100 square foot office is being partitioned off into three distinct spaces, with Graffito’s headquarters in the back, a conference room on the side (a room that will also double as a venue for public cuppings), and the 200 square feet closest to the front entrance dedicated to Gracenote’s new bar. Joining Barter in Gracenote’s first brick and mortar set-up is Alessandro “San” Bellino, owner of The Coffee Trike, a roving barista that has been serving the Dewey Square area since 2012.
“Jesse [Baerkahn] presented the idea to me toward the end of last year, and because of my close relationship with Pat [Barter] and Gracenote, it just made sense to bring him on board,” Bellino says. “Collaboratively, we looked at the space together just to see what made sense and what we could possibly do with it. So, the space is broken up with Graffito SP operating out of the back half and the most beautiful part of the space, the part that’s also the most accessible to the public, is dedicated to the espresso bar. There’s really nothing else like it in Boston.”
Keeping with the progressive nature of the space, Bellino and Barter spent months evaluating equipment, eventually settling on a Fetco batch brewing machine for coffee—something Bellino says matches the quality of a pour over without the arduous, time-consuming process—and a two-group Modbar, a state-of-the-art, all-in-one espresso bar that resembles a mobile kegerator.
“Pat and I are very picky with equipment, so we did a lot of analysis before we settled on anything,” Bellino says. “We’re going to be using a Modbar, where the machine itself is actually located underneath the counter. Just the group heads are visible, almost like beer taps at a bar. Not only does it do things like pressure profiling, which is a positive attribute for espresso extraction, it’s just great for customer service. Without a big machine in front of you, there’s not this barrier between you and the guests.”
For those who have come to rely on The Coffee Trike for their morning and afternoon caffeine fix, the good news is that Bellino’s newest venture is located mere blocks away from his previous home base. Unfortunately, Gracenote Coffee will effect his availability at Dewey Square. Bellino says he plans on keeping his Dutch cargo trike, but he’ll be relegating that part of his business to a three-day-a-week, part-time endeavor.
Gracenote Coffee’s flagship location will be open seven days a week, Monday through Friday between 7 a.m. and 5 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.