Last week saw the soft opening of Vigilante Coffee Company‘s second brick-and-mortar cafe near the University of Maryland campus in College Park.
“We’re going for the best coffee shop in any college campus/town in America,” Vigilante Coffee Owner and Founder Chris Vigilante told Daily Coffee News. “From quality to speed to the offerings, everything is top notch.”
It’s been just over two years since Vigilante Coffee opened its remodeled flagship roastery cafe in nearby Hyattsville, Maryland. With approximately 1,300 square feet at the street level and another 1,300 square feet below, the new College Park cafe has storage space to minimize clutter and highlight the interior design.
Atop the new shop’s bar are side-by-side La Marzocco Linea PB machines — one three-group and one two-group — paired with a Mahlkonig Peak grinders. A Mahlkonig Twin grinder is also on hand, as is a pair of Baratza Forte grinders for Kalita Wave pourovers and Aeropress brews. As at the flagship bar, the new Vigilante bar caters to its baristas with such efficiencies as countertop SureShot milk dispensers and a Marco Mix three-button font, while WateRx filtration systems treat every drop before it reaches any faucet, machine or other equipment — “even the toilets,” Vigilante noted.
Beyond coffee equipment, a 1970s Pioneer SX980 hi-fi receiver connected to a pair of tall speakers treats guests to the the warm, analog sound of vinyl LPs. Said Vigilante, “You can literally ‘feel’ the music as it comes out of the speakers.”
At the roastery location roughly three miles up the road from the shop, operations expanded last year into the entire 7,000 square feet available. Production continues on the company’s 12-kilo Diedrich and 1-kilo Diedrich sample roaster, while Vigilante has added a training and quality control lab.
Aside from a bit of landscaping to be worked on this summer at the new cafe, Vigilante’s next steps are to refine quality and efficiency in all its existing operations, with an occasional staff road trip in the company’s official 1991 Volkswagon Vanagon bolstering morale every now and then.
“We recently took our team that competed in NOLA for CoffeeChamps down there in the Vanagon. You’ll see more trips like that for sure,” said Vigilante. “This is our focus for the future: Sustaining and focusing on our company culture.”
Howard Bryman is the associate editor of Daily Coffee News by Roast Magazine. He is based in Portland, Oregon.