The Rest of the Best: Houston's Top 10 Coffee Shops
3. Southside Espresso
Photo by Ruthie Johnson Miller
Sean Marshall is yet another coffee shop owner who also roasts his own beans, and has done so since 2007 as the owner of Fusion Beans along with wife Michelle. His coffee shop, Southside Espresso, was as hotly anticipated as Blacksmith -- the second coffee shop from fellow roaster David Buehrer. Southside is tiny, square footage-wise, but packs a lot into its small space. In addition to terrific coffees and cortados, it also offers beer and wine and interesting combinations thereof, such as a shandy made with Kickin' Kombucha and Buffalo Bayou's 1836 Copper Ale.
Photo by Katharine Shilcutt
Blacksmith is the above-ground version of Greenway Coffee & Tea, with a few notable differences: A pleasant patio that overlooks Lower Westheimer and a small but potent food menu developed by chef Erin Smith, which features everything from Vietnamese steak and eggs or buttermilk biscuits with homemade marmalade for breakfast to Cuban sandwiches and BLTs with green tomatoes at lunch. The old building that once housed infamous gay leather bar Mary's has been totally transformed, with huge plate glass windows that flood the space with light and warmth.
Owner and coffee roaster Max Gonzales has made sure that Catalina stays at the top of its game by keeping its baristas well-trained, its coffee selection well-curated and its cortados well-made, every single time. There is no such thing as a bad cup of coffee here, whether it's a flat white or an espresso, and the pastries in the small case from Angela's Oven are reliably good as well. The zen-like, no-frills atmosphere is well-suited to working, reading or just relaxing -- leave catching up with your loud friends for the wraparound patio outside.
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909 Texas St., Houston, TX