Deep Ellum is stacked in pizzerias and has plenty of barbecue. But its quota of coffeehouses is surprisingly low. To the rescue comes Lead Belly Coffee, a combination coffee place and liquor lounge opening in October at 2721 Main St., in the former Deep End Smoke Shop space.
The shop comes from brothers Toby Wright and Matthew Madison, who have a history with coffee and liquor (although: who doesn't), and a desire to open a business together in Deep Ellum, where coffee options currently consist of Murray Coffee House, Cafe Salsera, Mokah Coffee Bar at Life in Deep Ellum, and the bottomless-cup bonanzas at Buzzbrews and Cafe Brazil.
The brothers' grandfather grew and sold coffee in Hawaii, where the two spent time growing up. And Wright worked at a whiskey distillery in Wyoming between working on oil rigs.
To manage the day to day, they've drafted Emma Saperstein, who ran a cheese chop in Chicago where she learned the ropes of retail management.
"We love Deep Ellum and want to support the creative community and continue to nurture that," Saperstein says. "At the shop, we'll try to be as local and small as possible. For our coffee, we'll use Dallas roasters in the beginning, and then start roasting the beans ourselves within a few months of opening."
The menu will focus on drinks first, with accompanying snacks. Saperstein says she's solicited suggestions from chef friends in Chicago.
"We're developing a menu of grab-and-go breakfast and coffee, with a café lunch and bar snacks in evening," she says. "We'll be open from 7 am to 2 am, so we're doing coffee and a full bar. The space is beautiful for transitioning nicely from a coffee shop into a place where you can socialize in the evening."
They'll be more cocktail-centric than beer, with a couple of new tricks for the neighborhood.
"One thing we'll do that's new is house-made kombucha, which will be really fun, in a variety of flavors," she says. "And cold-brew coffee for sure. And then we hope to feature coffee liqueur mixed drinks. We're working with a mixologist to develop a cocktail menu. Our focus is more on craft cocktails and liquor than beer. Since Deep Ellum has an established beer presence, we'll be taking a different focus."