Austin coffee lounge lines up big brunch for Dallas' Greenville Avenue
A cool coffeehouse concept from Austin is headed for Dallas: Called Halcyon Coffee Bar, it'll open on Greenville Avenue, in the former Cafe Brazil space at Goodwin Avenue, one block north of Terilli's, in March 2017.
What makes Halcyon cool is its hybrid of coffeehouse and lounge, where you can get your morning coffee straight up, or spiked at night, along with wine, beer, and non-coffee cocktails. This coffee-lounge combo is a trend that's become increasingly popular in the past few years, but Halcyon was among the first.
Halcyon was founded by partners John Long and Kris Hardy, who opened the first location on 4th and Lavaca in Austin in 2001. In 2013, they opened a second branch in San Antonio's Blue Star Arts Complex along with a sister concept called Stella Public House. There's also a branch in San Diego, where Long currently lives.
"I love a place where you can go and do your thing," Hardy says. "You can have coffee or food or something from the bar in the morning or at midnight. If you like to go out but you're not into the club scene, it can be a place to meet up with friends."
They wanted to fill what they saw as a gap for a place where you could get out of the house and hang out.
"Someplace to go and read the paper and have coffee," she says. "Or someplace to have a casual lunch meeting. Or someplace to meet for happy hour, if your group includes someone who doesn't drink."
They have all the au courant trademarks of a quality coffee spot, from the La Marzocco espresso machine to the pour-overs to Fair Trade beans to guest roasters that give customers a chance to try different coffee and beans every six weeks.
They also have snacks including flatbreads and their signature s'mores, which you do yourself over a sterno at your table, with marshmallows, graham crackers, and an old-school Hershey chocolate bar.
Halcyon's journey has been slow and steady until 2017, when things took an unexpected turn. The company suddenly faces opening two new outlets at the same time: the Dallas branch as well as one at the new Mueller Town Center development in Austin.
"We'd been working on the new Austin location for three years, but the developer hadn't broken ground," Hardy says. "We love what we do and wanted to expand, and that's when the Cafe Brazil space in Dallas opened up. It seemed like a no-brainer. We wanted to be a part of Greenville Avenue, and we thought we could bring something good to the neighborhood there."
They signed a lease, got the ball rolling in Dallas — and suddenly the Austin location fired back up.
Hardy and Long were committed to do both locations, but financially equipped to cover only one. Rather than bail, they launched a crowd-funding opportunity, for outsiders to get a piece of the action.
In recent years, some companies unable to raise capital on their own have solicited donations as a way to get a leg up, usually in exchange for some kind of special product. Halcyon is not soliciting donations. Instead, they're working with Austin-based MicroVentures in partnership with Indiegogo to launch an investment offering.
"It's an opportunity to invest in a local company through a local company," Long says. "It's putting your dollars into your community and towards businesses you believe in."
Interested parties can find information at TexasZebo. The funds will support construction of the location on Greenville Avenue, where they've executed a dramatic overhaul.
"The space needed a lot of cleanup," Hardy says. "The floors had been exposed to a lot of water, so there was wood rot and warping. We're redoing it in our own fresh way."
In addition to adding a much-needed coffee option to that particular strip of Greenville Avenue, the Dallas location will incorporate a key feature that no restaurant moving forward can do without: brunch.
"The interesting thing about Dallas is that it's very large, with a big kitchen," she says. "We've learned a few things from the San Antonio location, and we'll be able to have decent-sized menu in Dallas. One thing that Cafe Brazil left behind was a strong market for breakfast and lunch, so we'll be beefing up that menu, and we expect brunch to be a big tradition there."