Park Avenue Coffee ventured past its quaint Lafayette Square home on Thursday to open shop at 417 North Tenth Street, moving seamlessly into downtown life.
With twice the seating space as the original, the two dining rooms sport the same blue, orange and brown color scheme, but with a more urban tone. Chrome and granite, dark wood and leather, and giant windows permeate the high-ceilinged space with exposed ducts. It's sleek and spacious, with several secluded, quiet nooks.
During the post-lunch rush amid today's drizzle, Sammy Hagar fans gathered at Left Bank Books down the block. They ventured in to warm up with the same coffee and gooey butter cake that has always been the company's cornerstone. Downtown guides stopped in to say hello, and owner Dale Schotte greeted everyone who came in the door.
Word has spread across the street to the Renaissance Grand, whose employees are already coming in for coffee, despite the Starbucks in their building. Restaurateur Dave Bailey stopped by to visit. With this downtown addition, all of Bailey's restaurants now neighbor Park Avenue Coffee locations. First-time customers from opening day returned to take home gooey butter cakes for the weekend.
Standing in the shadow of Washington Avenue's clubs and lofts, across from a major hotel and down the block from Left Bank, shops and other restaurants, Park Avenue's new incarnation fills the one niche the growing district around Tenth Street has lacked: a neighborhood coffeehouse. Schotte wants to avoid serving lunch if he can, since there are so many restaurants nearby. He wants to focus on what Park Ave. has always done: coffee, baked goods and neighborhood gathering place.