Downtown Dallas gets more coffee with Flying Horse Cafe, which opened November 18 in the old Starbucks space on the ground floor of the Magnolia Hotel. Although brand new, this indie coffee shop has ties to the old Starbucks: Manager/co-owner Matt Soness supervised the store when it was Starbucks and knows the ropes.
"A lot of people were interested in this space, but I already had a good relationship with the Magnolia," he says.
It did well as a Starbucks, but it was a licensed concept whose California-based owner went bankrupt. Flying Horse will have many of the features Starbucks had, but with an expanded menu, including sandwiches such as turkey and Gouda, almond chicken salad on a croissant, and ham and cheddar with stone-ground mustard. Snacks include apples with caramel, fruit cups and yogurt parfaits.
In addition to the expected espresso drinks, Flying Horse Cafe has a big selection of alternative beverages, including cold-brewed coffee, fruit-infused iced teas in flavors such as watermelon, and house-made lemonade in flavors such as ginger. The coffee shop also offers smoothies, Frappuccino-type drinks and fresh OJ.
"Coming soon is a Norwalk juicer. It's a cold-pressed juice machine, so we'll be able to make our own version of V8 and green juice," Soness says. "We're still working on our lineup. There was a big push to get us open and get ourselves established. The holiday season is a big time, and we wanted to give the hotel another amenity."
The space has been updated with the addition of a 12-seat communal table and a TV that airs news during the week and sports on weekends.
Soness has a partner in California who runs a chain of coffee houses called Espresso Roma, with branches in Berkeley, San Francisco and Los Angeles. That's where he gets his beans, as well as some baked goods including croissants.
"Our pastries are phenomenal," he says. "We have eight to 10 croissants and baked items. Being on the West Coast, they do croissants really well. We get a shipment of unbaked product, which we proof and bake here. They're the real deal with butter, no margarine. We have an incredible pastry chef with a lot of experience."
Despite the Espresso Roma affiliation, they felt it was important that Flying Horse had its own Dallas identity.
"We felt like 'Espresso Roma' was too Italian and too confusing for this area," Soness says. "Since we're in the Magnolia Building with Pegasus on the roof, and given the history of building, we wanted that connection."