DTX Good Eats 2012
Coffee Talk

Two guys, a girl and new coffee shop on McKinney Avenue

Two guys, a girl and new coffee shop on McKinney Avenue

Origin Natural Food & Coffee
From left: Andrew Key, Jessica Myers and Russell Aldredge. Photo by Conner Howell
Origin Natural Food & Coffee
The 1,900 square-foot space will have a bar in the center with seating along the wall stretching from front door to back. Photo by Conner Howell
Origin Natural Food & Coffee
The front door of Origin Natural Food's future location. Photo by Conner Howell
Origin Natural Food & Coffee
Origin Natural Food & Coffee
Origin Natural Food & Coffee

A promising new addition is coming to the Dallas coffee scene, and its name is Origin Natural Food. Set to open mid-December in the Knox-Henderson neighborhood, the shop will offer healthy, to-go morsels and brew — all from local providers and roasters.

Founders Jessica Myers, Russell Aldredge and Andrew Key look like they’re ready to do some entrepreneurial heavy lifting, probably because they’ve all worked in the fitness industry in one way or another. Aldredge has opened two Crossfit gyms, Key works at a Crossfit gym and Myers was a regional manager for Lululemon Athletica.

Origin is a combination of what they love about healthy living and dining in Dallas.

 “We wanted to provide a quick option for people to pick up and go and feel good about what they’re eating,” says co-owner Jessica Myers.

“We wanted to provide a quick option for people to pick up and go and feel good about what they’re eating,” Myers says.

With Key’s help, the trio is blending into the mix a serious passion for coffee.

The idea has only been six months in the making, but they’re now leasing a 1,900-square-foot space on McKinney Avenue near Roti Grill. At the moment, the space is still empty while they wait for the city to administer proper permits to begin construction, which may take another month or so to get underway.

The plan is to have a big bar in the middle of the rectangular space with a long row of booth and table seating from front door to back. Then they’ll split the bar between a quick to-go section and create a community lounge area for chilling out. They’ll use tablets and smartphones instead of a cash register for fast self-checkout.

Chef Rudy Rodriguez (Eatzis, Nick & Sam’s) will prepare the meals at an off-site kitchen; they will be stored, ready-to-eat, at the coffee bar. Oak Cliff Coffee Roasters will provide the coffee, brewed in a hand-made La Marzocco espresso machine.

Key expects such an arrangement to encounter a hiccup or two once it’s in motion, but he and his partners feel good about what’s ahead.

 Chef Rudy Rodriguez (Eatzis, Nick & Sam’s) will prepare the meals at an off-site kitchen; Oak Cliff Coffee Roasters will provide the coffee.

“The plan is to perfect the formula here in a forgiving market with friends and family until we can branch out,” he says.

The only competition in the area is a nearby Starbucks, and Myers and her co-founders are confident the area will become a retail destination in the next five years. Not to mention that Myers and Aldredge both live in the area and know it to be an increasingly health-conscious part of town.

“The cool part about this area is it’s slowly becoming more of a fitness hub,” Myers says.

Origin could become a nutritional hot spot for the neighborhood, thanks to its proximity to Katy Trail, the Body Bar Studio and a new Crossfit gym.

There’s still a lot to be done as the healthy triumvirate rustles up a few more local providers, trains a barista staff and literally builds Origin from the ground up. Although this venture will be demanding — and somewhat unfamiliar — Myers, Aldredge and Key look bright and eager as they leap headfirst into it.

“Passion, in this case, is more important than experience,” Key says. “And it’s taking that limited experience together and combining it with the potential we three have together and implementing that into an idea.”