UPDATE 11-24-2020: El Porton opened on November 23.
A new indie coffee shop is opening in East Dallas' Casa Linda Plaza that will dedicate itself to glorifying the sacred bean.
Called El Porton, it will open in summer 2020, swinging open its doors at a date when we can all sit down and have a cup at the same table.
They're located at 9540 Garland Rd., in the southeast quadrant of Casa Linda, on the same corner as the Albertsons, in what used to be a Hallmark card store.
There's a Starbucks across the street but El Porton's owners — husband-and-wife Bruno Bianchi and Isabel Amaya — are carving out their own coffee space for neighbors, conversations, and your favorite latte.
They're an international duo — both are from El Salvador, and he has family in Italy — who originally considered opening a shop in Milan, where they lived while Bianchi studied for his MBA. But they love Dallas and felt like they could make a difference in the local coffee scene, including enlightening coffee drinkers about growers and producers. Hear that? They chose Dallas over Milan. Huzzah.
"Dallas' coffee scene is growing," Amaya says. "People are getting to know that coffee is not just something you drink in the morning to wake up."
They'll have espresso-based drinks including cappuccinos and the like, as well as drip coffee, plus snacks and pastries.
Their special twist: pairings featuring coffee and companion bites.
"Each month, we'll spotlight a different coffee that's linked to its origin, and bring that culture to life with a pairing menu, just as you might combine a certain type of cheese with a companion wine," she says. "We want to bring that culture here. We'll have coffee 'cocktails' — no alcohol, but carefully made coffee drinks that partner well with food."
Amaya was previously a chef and will use that experience to conceive of pairings, although for some items, they'll partner with a local bakery.
"One month, we might do a coffee from Colombia, which has orange flavor notes, so we'd pair with with a fruity dessert," she says. "For an espresso pairing, we'd combine it with a nut and chocolate pastry, to emphasize those same flavors you often find in espresso."
They'll also incorporate what she calls "social enterpreneurship," whether that's supporting small coffee growers or donating a portion of their sales to organizations such as the North Texas Food Bank. They're already using their Facebook page to highlight companies such as Wild Forest Coffee, a company that focuses on producing high quality coffee "through the strictest social and ecological practices."
With the coronavirus delaying the city permit approval process, they'll move forward on their ecommerce platform, where they'll sell coffee beans and tumblers designed by a local artist. It launches this week.