Downtown Buzz

Most interesting coffee shop revs up historic downtown Dallas building

Most interesting coffee shop revs up historic downtown Dallas building

Espresso machine
Look for espresso and a whole lot more when Motopia Cafe opens in downtown Dallas. iStock

One of the coolest redos in Dallas has to be the Butler Brothers Building, the tan building across from Dallas City Hall. It's being transformed by developer Mike Sarimsakci into a residential building and hotel, and the end is near. Units are being offered for rent.

Part of the sweet package will be the opening of Motopia Cafe, a unique, Euro-style business that combines motorcycles with coffee house and lounge.

This is actually a reopening. Motopia was once located in a storefront off US 75 near Fitzhugh, where it combined a coffee house, restaurant, lounge with fireplace, and business center with a motorcycle detail and repair shop.

Motopia was originally founded in 2008 by entrepreneur, SMU professor, and Renaissance man Rene Larrave as as a hangout for motorcycle aficionados.  It closed in 2014 to make way for a mid-rise apartment building.

But its one-of-a-kind formula will be re-created at the Butler Building, Larrave says.

"It's going to be basically the same concept, with a restaurant that is open to the public, and a club for motorcycle enthusiasts," he says.

The new location will open on the ground floor of the Butler building and will be a similar combination concept with coffee house, restaurant, bar, patio, and meeting rooms for small and large events. It will also have a motorcycle repair facility, a parts and trip counter, and plenty of parking for cars and motorcycles.

The restaurant will service all-day dining needs, with eggs, pancakes, migas, soups, salads, and sandwiches. "It'll be in the style of an American bistro, with casual food, but very good food," Larrave says.

The concept will open in phases, with the restaurant debuting sometime in December, and the motorcycle facility in early 2017.

“There’s a Motopia Club, as well, where you get to participate in trips, go to the track, buy parts, there’s a lot of benefits,” Larrave says. “The other part is the garage, with the motorcycle repair facility.

"I think it will be valuable for those who live in and around downtown. You have the Ducati shop on Industrial Boulevard and Vespa Dallas on Greenville, but otherwise you have to go all the way to Plano."

Sarimsakci, who is also a motorcycle rider, will be involved in the hands-on day-to-day of the cafe, while Larrave will serve as a kind of evangelist.

"I said to Mike, 'We need a ramp from the street to the courtyard, so that riders can drive right up,' and there's already one under construction," Larrave says.