One of the more interesting food and beverage operations that I’m eagerly anticipating is Harken Coffee in Railtown/Japantown. The 1,700 sqft space at 338 Powell St. is a little behind schedule, but such is life with an old building that has been stripped back to its original brick.
A recent visit and site tour with Eldric Stuart revealed that progress is indeed being make on the 16-seat Japanese-inspired coffee roastery and restaurant, with much of the framing now in place. The opening, I’m told, is on track for late summer.
For a refresher on the concept, here’s what I wrote about the place back in October, 2018, as well as the series of photographs I took last week.
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.