Do I start with Kacey who opened shop where a previous coffee shop failed? Or the fact that Southeast Grind Coffee House is open 24 hours a day, the only shop in Portland to do it, and it flourishes. I could easily lead with her emphasis on sustainability and supporting local businesses like Stumptown Coffee and Black Sheep Bakery.
The more I think about it I should just talk about Kacey. Southeast Grind opened in April 2009 after Fireside Coffee Lodge closed. It is often tricky opening a business where the exact same type of business failed but she did her homework and correctly understood what was wrong.
She brought in Stumptown, a favorite of Portland coffee shops. Kacey was in luck. A coffee that she loved also did the right thing when it came to their practices on how they bought the coffee beans and ran their business. She said even if she served another coffee she would still drink Stumptown.
Kacey believes in sustainability, from serving compostable cups to giving away her coffee grounds for gardening. She orders from local companies to keep the carbon footprint low. The menu has something for most anyone, raw food dishes, gluten-free bread (they make that themselves), vegan and vegetarian dishes,Voodoo Doughnuts, Black Sheep Bakery, and other creations.
Something that I wrote about before on Pouregon was how independent coffee shops may standout on taste but they often take a hit on service. Kacey loves coffee and knew what it was like to get slow service or to be ignored. Reading the reviews on Yelp I didn’t see one complaint about service which is a rare thing since people will often take the time to complain more than praise. The baristas are popular and the fact they are busy in the early morning means the hurried worker is getting his quick cup of coffee before the day starts. They have a lot of newspaper deliverymen, taxi cab drivers, garbage collectors dropping by at three and four in the morning. They’re probably bumping into the bar crowd that is finally heading home.
I was shocked when I was told that this is the only 24 hour coffee house in Portland. Really?! Aren’t we known for coffee? The Starbucks that are open 24 hours a day that I knew of have closed. In Beaverton there is Ava Roasteria but that doesn’t serve Portland well. So while Starbuck’s pulls out of the late night market Southeast Grind grown. Making a place for the after bar crowd to sit and wind down…with coffee. Well, there’s tea, Kombucha, Italian Sodas, smoothies, and more.
While talking to Kacey one phrase kept coming up, “Having fun.” She is having fun and wants others to have fun. She has been lucky to succeed in doing what most small business owners want to do, create an environment that customers enjoy as much as the owner.
You should visit Southeast Grind at:
1223 SE Powell Blvd
Portland, OR 97202