Velo Café Now Serving The Wharf

Our wait is over…the long anticipated opening of The Wharf took place Thursday, October 12. And along with shops, hotels, and brand new music venues is the grand opening of District Hardware and Bike at The Wharf. This family owned business has been serving the city for nearly half a century, and they are now expanding their operations to include a cafe which is operating as of today!

Earlier this month I sent a number of questions about Velo Café to Neil Conway, owner of District Hardware and Bike, to find out more about how this came to be. All photos below are courtesy of District Hardware.

How did the idea for Velo Café originate?

Combining complementary product offerings can even out the peaks and valleys of seasonality in a business and gives customers a “one stop shop” location where they can get more of their errands done at once. After the success of adding The Bike Shop to District Hardware, we realized that we can make that type of hybrid model successful. We’ve seen cafes do well with bike shops and believe that the new waterfront location at The Wharf was the perfect place for a combination bike shop/hardware store/cafe.

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Why the name Velo?

Velo is the French word for bicycle and is used frequently in the cycling world. We wanted to tie the cafe to the biking portion of the store and thought this would help make the connection.

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What coffee brand(s) will you be serving?

The Velo Café will be serving Vigilante Coffee as well as 3 Stars, Right Proper, and Hardywood Park Craft Brewery beers (the selection will rotate, but the cafe plans to stick with local mid-Atlantic breweries), Jos A Magnus Distillers spirits, Bethesda Bagels, and Souk Bakery baked goods. The coffee is part of a wholesale agreement with Vigilante; under the arrangement, Vigilante will help District Hardware and Bike select and service equipment and train staff.

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What is the most exciting part about opening up at The Wharf?

We love that we have the opportunity to be along the waterfront and expand our product and service offerings to better serve our customers, but we’re most excited about our local partnerships, including many that make the Velo Café possible.

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What makes Velo Café unique among the DC coffee community?

We think the fact that we’re family-run, community-focused, and connected to a hardware store/bike shop along the waterfront is unique. Customers can stop by for a cup of coffee on their bike ride to the office, or after work for a beer while picking up light bulbs or paint, or they can shop while waiting for a bike repair. The hybrid nature of District Hardware and Bike plus The Velo Café is what makes it unusual, and when combined with the high quality coffee from Vigilante, it becomes even more so.

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We are so excited to have Velo Café joining our coffee community! Let us know what you think once stopping in!

Keep caffeinated,

Lauren

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Pear Plum Café Opening in Mount Pleasant

Pear Plum Café by Each Peach Market has moved into Flying Fish’s old space in the Mount Pleasant neighborhood, and tomorrow they open their doors to customers.

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Photo courtesy of Pear Plum

As men were putting the finishing touches on the outside of the shop, I sat down inside with part-owner Jeanlouise Conaway and manager Scott Gaines to hear how this whole venture came to be. They were settling down after a Friends & Family launch the day before that went over smoothly.

Wanting to grow their operations and open a cafe for a while, Jeanlouise and Each Peach partner Emily Friedberg saw an opportunity when Flying Fish unfortunately closed next door. They wanted to expand the experience of Each Peach for their customers, sharing their love of food in a new way.

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Photo courtesy of Pear Plum

Their goal is to serve fresh, tasty food with the best customer service. When I asked Jeanlouise what she’d recommend on the menu, she immediately went to the sharing plates that include mezze, cheese, and charcuterie and are designed to be shared among 2-3 people. The coloniales are also a personal favorite as they take her back to time spent in Spain.

As far as the coffee program goes, they will currently be serving Lost Sock exclusively, but they’re also floating the idea of having rotating guest roasters in the future. Scott is a huge fan of Lost Sock’s product, and he sure knows what he’s talking about. His career in coffee began during his college years, and more recently he has worked with local favorites Compass Coffee (opening their Chinatown store) and Pineapple & Pearls. However, he is quick to emphasize that the star of the show at Pear Plum is the locally sourced, thoughtfully prepared food.

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Photo courtesy of Pear Plum

The shop has a cute and relaxed feel with hand painted yellow chairs and a beautiful blue tile on the walls. As far as the name, it was basically already decided for them. Each Peach was named after a children’s book from the 1970s called Each Peach Pear Plum, so it seemed like the appropriate progression. How adorable is that?

Café hours will be 7am-9pm Sundays-Thursdays and 7am-10pm Fridays-Saturdays. Why open so late? Because they also have a bar program with specialty cocktails on the menu!

The grand opening is tomorrow, and the team is visibly excited to share their talents and product with the Mount Pleasant community. Will you be there?

Keep caffeinated,

Lauren

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Photo courtesy of Pear Plum

DC Coffee Fest This Weekend!

Throw all your weekend plans out the window, because DC Coffee Fest is taking place this weekend, and thanks to the organizers at Coffee District, it is guaranteed to be one long, fun, caffeine-fueled party!

It all starts Thursday at 5:30pm with a bread, wine, and coffee tasting at A Baked Joint with Blue Print Coffee. Then Thursday evening, the monthly Thursday Night Throwdown hosted by DMV Coffee will take place at La Colombe Manhattan Laundry. It’s a $5 buy-in to pour, but don’t worry, you don’t have to be a barista to attend and have a good time. Just be sure to BYOB!

The main event that all of DC Coffee Fest revolves around is the DC Preliminaries for the U.S. Coffee Championships which begins on Friday at the Dolcezza Factory with the Brewer’s Cup Preliminary and continues Saturday and Sunday with the Barista Preliminary. Spectators can sign up for free tickets here. It’s important to note these are the only preliminaries taking place on the East Coast. The top 4 brewers from their preliminary will get a guaranteed spot at their choice of the U.S. CoffeeChamps Qualifying Competitions. The top 8 baristas from their preliminary will also get a guaranteed spot at their choice of the U.S. CoffeeChamps Qualifying Competitions.

After the first day of competition, Blanchard’s Coffee will be hosting an after party at the Crimson Diner in Chinatown. Mix and mingle with some of your faves in the biz over coffee and cocktails starting at 7pm.

Once you recover from the after party Friday night, hit up the Roasters Showcase from 11am-2pm on Saturday where over one dozen roasters from DC, Virginia, and Maryland will be featuring their product. This also gives you the opportunity to check out the Wydown’s beautiful space at The Apollo. Follow that up with a Sellout Party Saturday night at Cotton & Reed Distillery featuring Despaccino Coffee Rum. There will be food, coffee cocktails (of course), and giveaways! I can guarantee you’ll be singing Descpacinno to the tune of “Despacito” the rest of the night!

If that isn’t enough for you coffee lovers, Slipstream in Navy Yard will be serving up coffee flights and special coffee cocktails all weekend long!

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For additional details and information on even more (yes, there’s more!) happenings and collaborations taking place during DC Coffee Fest, check out the event website. Hopefully all you DC coffee enthusiasts are able to make it to some of these events over the weekend! If you do, be sure to tag us in your Instagram photos!

Keep caffeinated,

Lauren

But First… Coffee

Oh yawn… not that quote again.

“A yawn is a silent scream for coffee!”

That’s better.

Now. Where were we?

“Coffee has given me unrealistic expectations of productivity.” 

Yep.

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I (Daniëlle) recently stumbled upon a 961 page book on quotations at one of those free bookshelves (where else, at a coffeeshop) and had to chuckle at a few good coffee quotes. (“Way too much coffee. but if it weren’t for the coffee, I’d have no identifiable personality whatsoever” – David Letterman). Apparently there’s a Dutch saying that states “coffee has two virtues, it’s wet and warm” (figures) so chasing my heritage I went on a hunt for some more quotes.

In the arena of staying positive and energized: 

“Coffee: the most important meal of the day.”

“A good day starts with a positive attitude and a great cup of coffee.”

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How we lose functionality without our coffee:

“The problem with coffee is how to make it when you haven’t had any yet.”

“I’m not a morning person or a night owl. I’m a “whenever my coffee kicks in” person, and then I’m a “need more coffee person.”

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Some good chuckles:

“Pilates? O heavens no! I thought you said pie and lattes.”

“Coffee: because anger management is way too expensive.”

“When I read about the evils of drinking coffee, I gave up reading.”

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For the true coffee lover:

“Ways to win my heart: 1. Buy me coffee. 2. Make me coffee. 3. Be coffee.”

“A day without coffee is like… just kidding, I have no idea what that’s like.”

“Coffee should be black as hell, strong as death, and sweet as love.”

“I love you more than coffee (but please don’t make me prove it).”

“Nothing goes better with coffee than more coffee.”

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Combining the dreamiest of pastimes:

“What on earth could be more luxurious than a sofa, a book and a cup of coffee?” – Anthony Trollope

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I found hundreds of coffee quotes, but these definitely spoke to me (or put a knowing smile on my face). What quotes can you most relate to?

Stay grounded,

Daniëlle