A new coffee roastery and cafe called Harken is opening soon in Railtown/Japantown. The 1,700 sqft space at 338 Powell Street (formerly Kay’s Seafood) is currently in a raw state with construction hopefully kicking off early this winter.
When it opens – possibly as early as April/May – Harken will be roasting beans on site. In addition to coffee, the newcomer will be serving up Japanese-inspired, shojin ryori-style vegan food from a small kitchen run by chef Kris Barnholden (formerly of Bows x Arrows, now at The Diamond). “Shojin ryori” translates as “food of devotion”; it’s a cuisine developed over many centuries by Zen Buddhist monks and a step-parent to the kaiseki mode of dining. Whatever the exact case, it’s great that there will be more Japanese food coming to Japantown (see also Dosanko), and I can’t wait to see how the concept develops and ultimately comes to fruition. Barnholden is really passionate about local products and seasonality, so the food here should be really interesting.
I toured the space today with Eldric Stuart (pictured above), the coffee whisperer behind Chinatown’s celebrated Aubade Coffee shop. He will be in charge of developing the coffee program for Harken, doing everything from sourcing green coffee and guiding the roasting to staff training and maintaining a high standard for every cup. In addition to pulled shots, I’m told that we can expect plenty of pour-over action and up to 10 different cold drip machines operating at once.
The space is currently empty and has been so for about a year now, but things will accelerate as fall turns to winter and they start construction. They’ve got experienced talent behind the project, too, and by that I mean beyond Eldric and Kris. Simcic + Uhrich Architects (see Brassneck, Timbertrain, Juniper, etc.) is doing the design, which sounds really interesting (three window booths and a coffee bar for a total of 16 seats), while Milltown (see Rhinofish, Mak N Ming, Bells & Whistles, etc.) is the general contractor.
I’ll have more on this project as it develops. In the meantime, take a closer look via the photos below. It doesn’t look like much now, but I have a good feeling that it’ll be worth the wait.