The category of "restaurants inside gas stations" is perennially popular, and now you can add a new one to the list: Gahwena Coffee Station is a coffee shop in Duncanville that just opened in a renovated gas station at 711 S. Main St., where it's serving a variety of coffees, espresso drinks, pastries, and snacks.
Gahwena is from Moumin Almahaini, a 29-year-old graduate of the University of Texas at Dallas with a computer engineering degree and an entrepreneurial streak. He previously operated the gas station on site, but wanted to offer something to the area that the neighbors would love.
"I asked my regular customers what they might want, and most said they would love to have a quality coffee shop close by," Almahaini says.
The shop still has some items you'd find at a gas station convenience store, such as a refrigerated case stocked with sodas, Red Bull, and other beverages. But the interior has been given a makeover with unique wood furniture and decorative elements, as well as free Wi-Fi and a free little library.
Where the gas pumps once stood is now an expansive and funky patio, with the same distinctive wood seating, plus bike racks. He's kept the gas price signs but instead of price per gallon, the signs display coffee prices.
The location comes with a built-in audience: There's a service station next door and Almahaini says they've seen business from motorists getting their state inspection who want a nice place to wait.
His menu includes espresso drinks such as lattes and cortados, but he also serves something few other conventional coffee shops serve: Turkish coffee.
"We have a drink called the Arabian latte - it combines Turkish coffee with espresso and cardamom, which gives it a unique flavor," he says.
There is also cold brew, tea, chai tea latte, frappuccino-style drinks, and all the alternative milks: soy, oat, almond, and coconut.
Beans are from Oak Cliff Coffee, and pastries are from acclaimed LaCasita Bakeshop, with plans to add sandwiches and other foods once the catches its breath. There's also has another novel coffeeshop twist in the works: a coffeeshop opening inside a service station at Redbird and 67, and a standalone shop planned, possibly in DeSoto, later in 2022.
Almahaini is originally from Syria; the name "Gahwena" is Arabic.
"It means 'give me coffee,' or 'give us coffee,'" he says. "At the time that I was crafting the concept and menu, I was thinking about the difficult situation in Syria, and wanted to reinforce that we are all the same. I've noticed that our unusual atmosphere seems to encourage customers talking to each other. It feels like a happy place."