Pavement Will Roast Its Own Coffee in Brighton
The local bakery and café company will open two new shops in 2018.
As one of the first Boston-area cafés to offer pour-overs and cold-brew, Pavement has always been serious about coffee. But for the first time, the local company is taking charge of its roasting operations.
Earlier this month, Pavement brought in custom-roasted coffee at all six of its current locations; and the company just finalized a lease with Harvard University to open a roasting facility, commissary kitchen, and café in Brighton. Pavement is also among the local businesses opening up shop this year in the newly renovated Smith Campus Center at Harvard University.
“Our biggest focus for the past few years with coffee has been on quality. Working with Counter Culture [Pavement’s exclusive roaster for the past six years] has been fantastic with that,” says Andy LoPilato, Pavement’s operations manager. But choosing and roasting its own beans will allow the company to have even more control over quality, and be selective to fit the needs of its shops, he says.
Pavement is currently sourcing, selecting, and buying its own coffee, and has partnered with Philadelphia’s Passenger Coffee to roast it until the Brighton facility is online, LoPilato says. He estimates Pavement will fully take over production within the next six weeks.
The lineup currently includes the house Rathskeller Blend, and couple of single-origin roasts. The plan is to always offer the approachable, chocolatey Rathskeller—named for the grandaddy of Boston rock clubs, of course—and a rotating selection of single-origin roasts from Latin America, Africa, and other growing regions; as well as seasonal blends. Whole-bean Pavement Coffees are also available by the bag, and once the roastery opens, the retail bags will be for sale on Pavement’s website, as well, LoPilato says.
A small café at the front of the 4,675-square foot space on Western Ave. will highlight the house coffees with more pour-over options, and a high-tech Poursteady machine. It will serve Pavement’s bagels and breakfast menu, but not lunchtime sandwiches, LoPilato says. But with 800 square feet of kitchen space, it allows Pavement to expand its food options company-wide from one central location.
Pavement currently makes its own, kettle-boiled bagels, multigrain and a light sourdough sandwich breads, and cookies. At the Brighton commissary, they will bring production of things like scones, muffins, and more quick breads in-house.
“It allows us to take ownership of things people are coming to Pavement for,” LoPilato says.
The Western Ave. shop will seat about 25 inside, with additional outdoor seating seasonally. Renovation on the Harvard-owned building is ongoing, and will include landscaping and adding big, street-facing bay windows.
The Brighton deal came about while Pavement was in talks with the university about the Smith Center. Pavement will be a sort of “greeting café” in the Harvard Square campus and community center, with a coffee and bagel bar near the ground level entrance, and an additional coffee bar with pastries and snacks on the second floor. They won’t be doing full their typical sandwich menu—meals will be well-taken care of by Whole Heart Provisions, Saloniki, Bon Me, Oggi Gourmet, and more.
Harvard has “done a good job making this a functional campus center, but also a functional community space,” LoPilato says.
The Smith Center will be Pavement’s eighth location when it opens late this summer or early this fall, and its first on the Cambridge side of the Charles. It might not be the last Pavement Coffeehouse to open, but it will be the last new shop for the foreseeable future.
“This is the culmination of a lot of work for [Pavement owner Larry Margulies] and I over the last two years,” LoPilato says, referring to the roasting program and commissary operations. “We’re focusing on our coffee program, and growing our existing operations before we look at more space. There’s a lot of things we can once we have more space—catering with bagels and a coffee menu, those kind of focus. There’s a lot we can improve on now that we have this integrated space.”
Pavement’s Brighton café and operations are on track to open by early May, and Harvard Square could be here by August, LoPilato says. In the meantime, visit a shop in Back Bay, Fenway, Allston Village, or another Pavement for a bagel and a cup of the new Rathskeller Blend.