A few months ago, we told you about Origin Natural Food, a healthy food spot and coffee shop coming to the Knox-Henderson area. At the time they didn’t have a permit to start construction, but this past week they’ve just finished all the finer touches. They got their brewing machines and a new chef to boot as they prepare for their grand debut Friday.
Jeff Smith is that new chef. When he was looking to expand his catering business from California, Smith had talked to a few other companies in Dallas before he met Origin owners Jessica Myers and Russell Aldredge. But when he learned about Origin, the off-site kitchen in Addison and their plans for the future, he was sold.
“It seemed like too good of an opportunity to pass up,” Smith says. And Smith’s expertise in healthy cuisine made him a match for Myers and Aldredge as well.
“I think it’s important to offer a menu that’s easy and simple, with some seasonal specials, and to treat this place like a restaurant,” says chef Jeff Smith.
“I think it’s important to offer a menu that’s easy and simple, with some seasonal specials, and to treat this place like a restaurant,” Smith says.
Simple and organic, with free-range chicken from Windy Meadows Family Farm and fresh eggs from Vital Farms. They tried to find grass-fed beef locally, but with the drought, Smith will have to source it from California for the next year or two.
“I knew about the drought in Texas, but it’s been exceptionally impactful,” he says.
Smith and his staff will prepare fresh meals on a day-to-day basis, cooking the day before and delivering the meals to Origin for people to enjoy the following day.
And the coffee?
Cue Louie Corwin, a barista and new addition to the team. He is the coffee manager for Origin.
A friend of Origin’s manager, Andrew Key, Corwin got involved on a chance meeting with the three owners at another coffee shop, and he is now leading the training on the barista staff. Key is training the staff on point of sale and food knowledge.
“Consistency is our main focus,” Corwin says. “We want every barista to be at the same level, so no matter when a customer comes in, they can expect the same thing they got before.”
“Consistency is our main focus,” says coffee manager Louie Corwin. “We want every barista to be at the same level.”
The Origin standard is an artisan brew using blends from Oak Cliff Coffee Roasters, such as Hidden City, which is used for the signature espresso.
Origin’s founders are committed to what is fresh and wholesome and serving it on a plate or in a cup, so rather than recruit people with years of barista or restaurant experience, they instead wanted people with a passion for learning and sharing with customers.
“You can learn coffee brilliance and food brilliance, so we wanted to train a team with the personality to involve people in the process from food to coffee,” Key says.
Big brown refrigerators line the walls by the entrance. So you can pick your meal first, or walk over to the menu literally hanging on the wall and see what Chef Smith has prepared for that day.
The coffee bar works in clockwise motion from the front of the shop to the back, but only when it’s busy. There’s enough room to casually browse the menu, check out all the new machines — like the lime green La Marzocco — and even peruse the self-serve Sterling Tea nook in the back corner.
And likely Key and Corwin will be there, fixing drinks, talking coffee and food with staff and customers, and tackling the daily grind of Origin coming into its own.
Although they are still trying to find solid ground, Corwin, Myers, Aldredge and Key are all hopeful about the future of their new Origin shop.
“It doesn’t stop with one,” Key says.