Blacksmith Opening This Spring: Mary's Goes Mocha

Categories: Caffeine, News

IMG_3913.jpg
Photo by Robb Walsh
Coffeesmiths David Buehrer and Ecky Prabanto are moving on up -- literally and figuratively -- from their current digs at Greenway Coffee & Tea, located in the subterranean Greenway Plaza food court, into a new space in Montrose. Blacksmith, the pair's new coffee shop, is set to open this spring at 1018 Westheimer. The location once housed Montrose landmark Mary's.

Buehrer, whom Robb Walsh deemed a "rising star barista" in 2009, and Prabanto are two of the central figures shaping Houston's coffee scene right now. Along with other shops like Catalina and local roasters like Amaya, the tightly-knit coffee community has been attempting to push things forward for the last few years, supplying restaurants with their products, creating coffee cocktails at bars like Anvil, hosting coffee-pairing dinners and collaborating with chefs to teach them how to pull an espresso shot or choose beans. Buehrer and Prabanto have been involved every step of the way.

And although their coffee shop at Greenway Plaza hasn't waned in popularity, the duo have been swayed to the surface streets not only to provide more accessibility for their customers, but also to be a part of the ongoing collaborative project that's created Anvil and the upcoming Underbelly and Hay Merchant.

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The old mural at Mary's.
Blacksmith is co-owned by not only Buehrer and Prabanto, but also Bobby Heugel, Chris Shepherd and Kevin Floyd among others, and it will occupy the building directly next to Shepherd and Floyd's respective operations -- Underbelly and Hay Merchant.

Although people undoubtedly mourn the loss of Chances and Mary's in Montrose, at least it can be said that these types of projects are the best and highest use of old landmarks: Houston natives striving to create better restaurant, bar and coffee shop experiences for area residents, wihle trying to inspire more industry collaboration across the city. Along with news that Cafe Luz -- run by Frank Freeman -- is opening soon downtown at the Bayou Lofts and Southside Espresso -- from Sean Marshall, the roaster behind Fusion Beans -- is opening next to Uchi down the street, it's an exciting week for coffee.

Blacksmith will offer a small kitchen in addition to its coffee shop, where beans will be roasted by Prabanto and brewed by Beuhrer. In addition, baristas from New York, New Orleans and Seattle will be staffing the shop alongside them. They expect the shops hours to be 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. seven days a week.

To keep up with construction news or ask the team questions about this newest endeavor, follow them on Twitter: @BL4CKSMITH. (I'm assuming the leetspeak is a tribute to how difficult it is to find original Twitter handles these days.)



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14 comments
Tasteslikechicken
Tasteslikechicken

Kathrine (and others), be advised that in the back of what once was Mary's and is now Blacksmith Coffee shop, are the ashen remains of nearly 100+ gay men who died of AIDS (1982-96).   Neglected by family and a national community that shunned them, these men requested that once they died, their remains be interred behind Mary's in the dirt patch near the large oak tree in the rear.  Of those remains are several former, decorated Vietnam War veterans.  If the remains have not been moved off Mary's property and the owners concrete over the back area, I hope the owners will raise a plaque or a small momento remembering our AIDS casualties. My brother died of AIDS in 1991; his lovers ashes are the back area along with the rest. 

Jeeterbug
Jeeterbug

agreed about the hours.  5pm?!?!  really...don't they realize the gays are just starting their days at 5pm?!?!  hopefully they'll reconsider or i have a feeling it will be a short-lived business venture.

H_e_x
H_e_x

I don't know, it feels weird that some stale, clean coffee house is opening in what was once a bar with so much character. Oh well. Yuppies need coffee, I suppose.

J.
J.

My guess is the hours are dictated by the parking concerns of Underbelly and Hay Merchant.  You can make a lot more money selling dinner and alcohol than coffee.

Jim Ayres
Jim Ayres

Katharine, the sentence opening your 5th paragraph is absolutely beautiful. Inspiring and so true! 

The Finkelstein Kid
The Finkelstein Kid

I do believe they will seriously need to reconsider those hours. This isn't Greenway Plaza nor is it downtown. The Montrose is alive after 5pm. Good luck though!

Eric S.
Eric S.

Congratulations to David & Ecky! I am very excited to have this talented barista in the 'hood. Welcome!! 

Stit60
Stit60

Morphing Mary's into a coffee shop is just the kind of innovation and vision that you'd expect to arise from Houston's redheaded stepchild and love-hate scapegoat community, Montrose. Mercifully preserved is the brick wall mural, depicting an era gone but not forgotten. 

buehrersmom
buehrersmom

So proud of David & Ecky! And a heartfelt thank you to the Anvil "posse" for all they have done in making Montrose THE area in town to go for fabulous drinks and food!

Katharine Shilcutt
Katharine Shilcutt

I wouldn't be so quick to call it stale. I think this gang will surprise you. :)

Texasota
Texasota

How much of a concern is parking to a coffee shop at that location? How many people are in walking/biking distance? I know I am, and I would much prefer to be able to walk the Blacksmith at 10pm. Or 3am for that matter, but that might be pushing it.

H_e_x
H_e_x

I'll give it a look see, but it's all relative when compared to the crowd Marys had.

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