After nearly two years of chatting through plans and taking small step after small step towards their goal, Ohio natives Lindsey and John King have opened Walkie Talkie Espresso & Coffee in Canton’s Northwest neighborhood.
Lindsey, a 16-year coffee industry veteran and former barista competitor, and John, a musician who spent time working for Deli Ohio, have long dreamed of opening a coffee shop of their own, envisioning a welcoming, walkable, mixed-used space for their surrounding community. That vision moved towards reality when a former 1930s-era service station building was purchased by Deli Ohio owner Ryan Miller. It moved even closer with a successful $32,000+ Kickstarter campaign last year.
The cafe space has been renovated to highlight its vintage original garage aesthetics, with high ceilings and track lighting throughout. The walls are painted with a palette selected by Lindsey that includes Walkie Talkie’s orange, teal, mint and salmon. Upon entering, there is a welcome wall that reads, “this neighborhood coffee shop brought to you by” with signatures of participating Kickstarter backers. There are two large community tables for guests and a children’s nook filled with soft seating and a low-rise coloring table. There is also ample bar seating where guests are invited to sit and chat with baristas while they work.
Cory Windland, a friend of the Kings, helped design the logo and the artwork within the space, along with a couple of “walkie talkies” that are painted above the entrance to the cafe.
“The name Walkie Talkie comes from our dream for their neighborhood — building a place that you can walk to and talk with your neighbors,” the Kings jointly told DCN via email. “We hope whenever someone sees our logo it incites joy and reminds them it is a place they can be a part of.”
The Kings opted for a two-group La Marzocco Linea for espresso, which sits atop the back of the bar next to a Mazzer Robur grinder for espresso and a Mahlkönig EK43 for drip coffee. Fetco is used for batch brew and Hario V60s hold the pourovers.
Walkie Talkie is exclusively serving coffees from the revered Portland, Oregon roastery Heart Roasters.
“We first tried Heart in Detroit actually as a pourover at Astro and that cup lingered in my mind for years,” Lindsey King said. Wooster, Ohio’s Hartzler Family Farm provides the dairy.
Much of the menu, including numerous signature coffee drinks, was the creation of Lindsey, while John, who is newer to coffee, has been working alongside her at the bar. Said Lindsey, “He is a fast-learning rookie.”
The menu includes numerous brand-centric takes on classic espresso-based offerings and more experimental items. For example, “The Walkaccino” is a large cappuccino meant to last a customer their entire walk home, and the “Big Kid” is half cold brew concentrate and half chocolate milk. There are seasonal drinks like the basil and rosemary latte which incorporates a house-made syrup that had been infused with fresh basil leaves and rosemary sprigs.
“We’ve tried to keep the menu streamlined, easy for new coffee explorers to peruse, and curious enough for experienced drinkers as well,” said the Kings.
Lindsey and John’s main goal for their cafe is to serve coffee with heart (pun only half-intended).
“While this does mean offering the highest quality coffee and creating amazing drinks, the focus comes down to every interaction we have with our customers,” the Kings said. “Whether you are from near or far, we want people to feel like a neighbor instead of a stranger.”
Walkie Talkie is now at 504 15th St NW in Canton, Ohio.
Craig Batory is a writer, marketer and coffee professional working and living in Detroit.