Less than two years after opening its Salt Lake City flagship roastery, cafe and event space, Publik Coffee Roasters has opened two new SLC locations.
With variations in available space, scope, and food and drink programming, each of Publik’s storefronts reflects a vision distinct from the others, while still maintaining the company’s broader philosophies of “quality over quantity, community over corporate,” and “planet over profit.”
“A lot of our success has been based on the fact that we have a great product and a great aesthetic, and we have great people,” Publik Founder and Owner Missy Greis told Daily Coffee News following the two openings, which took place over the past two months. “Salt Lake is small and people are really attached to the brand and willing to support a local business. It is a great city for small business.”
Now complementing Publik’s expansive, green, beautiful flagship location at 975 S. West Temple in the Central Ninth neighborhood are Publik Avenues, located at 502 E. Third Avenue, and Publik Kitchen, at 931 East 900 South.
Publik Avenues is a more coffee-focused extension of the roastery, with a much smaller, approximately 1,000-square-foot space resulting in more of a neighborhood shop vibe. Like the Central Ninth flagship, it features a La Marzocco Strada for espresso, a range of pourovers, and includes a toast menu and house-made granola.
Greis said she purchased the building at the same time she purchased the Central Ninth location with the intention of opening the Avenues shop soon after, but the plan was held up by some permitting issues with the city, as well as by the amount of time required to set up and run the flagship.
As its name implies, Publik Kitchen has an expanded focus on food, occupying another building owned by Greis that had been leased by a deli. Now including a full kitchen with table service, Publik Kitchen is serving a complete breakfast menu in addition to Publik’s granola and specialty sandwiches. Filter coffees are available, while a La Marzocco Linea supports espresso-based drinks.
Tripling the amount of storefronts within a span of mere months involved swelling from 16 to 44 employees. Asked whether it has been difficult to attract coffee and culinary talent in such short order, Greis praised her management team — which includes a head roaster and a director of coffee who oversee the program at all three locations — for minimizing growing pains.
Regarding hiring baristas, Greis said the company — while it always has an experienced barista or manager on duty — is willing to initially look beyond a lack of coffee experience to the personality of the candidates themselves. “We want to maintain a certain vibe, and to do that we have really great people,” Greis said. “We have the kind of people you want to see first thing in the morning as you start your day. So it’s a combination of really experienced baristas and some new people.”
In addition to its retail growth, Publik is hoping to leverage the added exposure to expand wholesale operations throughout Utah and the American West. The company already maintains upward of 30 local accounts throughout SLC and Park City, as well as accounts from place farther afield like Los Angeles and Washington D.C., although Greis said much of that growth has been organic in nature, by word of mouth.
A goal, Greis said, is to get the roastery’s Deidrich IR-12 humming seven days a week. As for other immediate plans, Greis said she’s asked on a weekly basis about the prospect of opening a Publik location in Park City — where the company first established a retail presence before setting down its SLC roots. “I just don’t know,” Greis said. “There’s nothing on the immediate horizon.”
Nick Brown is the editor of Daily Coffee News by Roast Magazine. Feedback and story ideas are welcome at publisher (at) dailycoffeenews.com, or see the "About Us" page for contact information.