Set to open in the coming weeks, Blkdog Coffee is the latest concept from prolific restaurateur Mike Tran, bringing together specialty coffee, “Brooklyn-style” pizza, and Japanese menu and design influence in the Southeast Houston Asiatown neighborhood.
“We are a coffee shop, but most coffee shops these days serve food,” Tran told Daily Coffee News. “The idea was inspired by Japanese coffee shops, which love to offer unique food items that break the mold — so we decided to serve pizza, rather than the traditional croissants or sandwiches.”
Blkdog will offer cold and hot coffee options, tea, and frappe beverages. With homemade dough tossed to some level of thinness associated with Brooklyn, the pizza will also have some Japanese influence as well, with toppings such as spicy miso pork, Okonomiyaki, gorgonzola honey, and Japanese Berkshire sausage.
“We’ll have deserts like homemade sweets, cheesecake, and chocolate cake that pair really well with coffee,” said Tran, but we also have small pizzas if customers that want something a more filling and savory.”
The cafe will be using coffee from Philadelphia-Based La Colombe Coffee Roasters. According to Blkdog, it will be the first coffee shop in Texas to carry La Colombe, which has some 30 retail locations of its own throughout the country, but none in the Lone Star State.
“We tried La Colombe in New York City and loved the coffee, the history, the simplicity — as well as the TV show ‘Dangerous Grounds,’” Tran said of the coffee company and its CEO Todd Carmichael, who hosted the coffee sourcing show on the Travel Channel.
Within the open, inviting Blkdog space, coffee will be delivered to customers in yellow, gray, and aqua-colored stoneware cups with matching saucers, with drinks prepared on a La Marzocco Linea espresso machine.
“Our restaurant design has always had a darker, more industrial look. We decided to go the opposite direction and lighten it up on this one,” said Tran. “Since we are designers ourselves, it was fun to mess around with a lighter color palette.”
The space is filled with stacks of classic Japanese books, offering an informal lending library, with unique lighting fixtures and furniture with abundant and various wood finishes.