Dallas' coffee scene keeps getting bigger, and now it'll have a taste from Austin. Houndstooth Coffee, the ultra-cool minimalist coffee shop/bar, will open a branch in East Dallas, at the corner of Skillman Avenue and Oram Street, in early 2013.
Brothers Sean and Paul Henry opened the first Houndstooth in Austin in 2010, in a tiny, but ultra-clean spot on North Lamar near 45th. They're part of the "third wave" of coffee, with an attentiveness to everything from the harvest of the plant to the grind of the bean.
The baristas are trained to national standards and give lots of attention to individual preferences. Their Austin store hosts free public coffee tastings twice a week. In addition to coffee, they offer wine and craft beer, with rotating seasonal beers on tap.
"We try to elevate the craft of the barista — not just in the technique of making drinks but in tasting, hospitality and the art of conversation," says co-owner Sean Henry.
Sean Henry, who learned the craft while working at Austin coffee haunts such as Thunderbird and Cafe Medici, says that they're trying to help people drink better coffee in Dallas, as they have in Austin.
"We try to elevate the craft of the barista — not just in the technique of making drinks but in tasting, hospitality and the art of conversation," he says. "Austin has a more advanced coffee scene; that's why we want to go to Dallas and bring the scene along."
They're moving into a former frame shop, in an area without many options for coffee. "We hope to be a neighborhood spot for Lakewood and the M streets and Junius Heights," he says.
They'll re-create the sleek, modern atmosphere of the Austin store, including the wooden espresso bar. The bar sits low enough that customers can watch the baristas make drinks on a vintage hand-made La Marzocco espresso machine, one of less than 100 in the world.
Houndstooth gets its coffees from a variety of roasters, including Cuvee, Counter Culture, Handsome and Madcap, with beans that rotate depending on stock, taste and season. They always have at least two espresso options and three brewed-by-the-cup coffees.
The beer list is small but mighty, with Dogfish Head Brewery, Lagunitas, Real Ale, North Coast, Unibroue and Stone. The wine list is drawn from Napa, Willamette Valley, Spain, France and more.
At the same time this is happening, they're also opening a small second spot in Austin, an opportunity that was offered to them after they initiated the activity on a location in Dallas. Sean will oversee the Dallas store, and his brother will cover Austin.
"I don't like the term expansion," Sean says. "What we do is based on the people we have in place. We have good people. We don't go looking for traffic count or area of town, but instead what does this possibility mean, and if it's in tune with what we want to be. Our goal is to create jobs for people and at the same time be true to who we are as Houndstooth. I feel like it’s truly organic growth."