From the people behind the duo of popular Makers & Finders coffee shops in Las Vegas has come a new roastery, bakery and cafe in Sin City’s Chinatown neighborhood called Take It Easy. The new shop opened to the public last week.
Josh Molina originally bought part of the new shop space in 2017, where he installed a Diedrich IR12 roaster that supplies the two Makers & Finders coffee shops in Summerlin and the Arts District.
When the space next door became available, Molina and company decided to expand and develop the all new sibling concept that conveys a more leisurely vibe while leaning more into Molina’s Colombian heritage.
“Makers & Finders has an energetic spirit, befitting of its name,” Molina told Daily Coffee News. “Although it is a fun environment, restaurants are chaotic. We realized that we needed a unique work space where we and our management team can disconnect from the madness.”
Of the approximately 2,300 square feet of total space, the cafe occupies a bit less than half, and connects directly to a warehouse that houses the company’s offices, a cupping area, receiving dock and conference room.
The new shop is also co-owned by Molina’s parents, who moved to the United States from Colombia in the 1980s. The name of the shop borrows one of Molina’s father’s go-to expressions.
In a sleek, uncluttered space, Makers & Finders prep cook Ashley Avila leads a food and pastry program that features carrot cake doughnuts, matcha cakes, cake pops, and fruit tarts, as well as a variety of empanadas and an array of Colombian cheese breads including buñuelos (little fried cojita-filled dough balls), pandebono (cornbread stuffed with cotija and queso fresco) and more.
Molina said the interior color scheme is intended to promote serenity, with warm pinks, soft greys and hearty bronze that come together in a mural of the Las Vegas valley at sunset. Said Molina, “We have a lot of pinkish sunsets over here, and it is one of the things we find most beautiful about Las Vegas.”
The shop’s Modbar espresso installation, the roaster and details on the white marble countertops provide additional bronze accents, while guests are also afforded views into the production roastery and bakery.
“There aren’t many open bakery formats,” said Molina, “We have a tremendous amount of respect for our baked items, and bakers, and really wanted to show that off.”
Take It Easy Head Roaster Paris Cesena and Molina both took Specialty Coffee Association-sanctioned roasting classes at different locations in Seattle, Idaho and California in advance of the roasting program that went live about six months ago.
“Our approach to roasting, each time we step up to the platform, is respecting the bean and realizing all of the hard work and effort put into growing, picking, and processing the bean at hand,” Cesena told Daily Coffee News. “We put a lot of time and effort into studying the farms in which they came from. We come up with a roast plan, execute, cup once again, make any tweaks and make a final decision of the roast profile, which we are able to replicate with the help of Cropster. We love what we do, and it shows through each and every cup.”
Through Molina’s Colombian family connections, Take It Easy is able to communicate directly with farmers and exporters — including the Huila-focused exporter Quatro Vientos Café..
“We believe a lot in this region,” said Molina. “With the help of our friends at Cuatro Vientos… we hope to one day buy a coffee farm in that region, to have an exclusive and traceable chain of coffee that we provide directly to our guests at Makers & Finders and TIE.”
Take It Easy now also adheres strictly to new COVID-19 health requirements, including a floor plan that facilitates social distancing, mandatory mask wearing, and a bi-weekly deep clean and disinfectant using a peroxide surface cleaner considered potent against the novel coronavirus. Complimentary masks and hand sanitizer are also available to patrons.
To weather the storm, Molina said Makers & Finders has stayed open with a curbside coffee bar with limited food offerings and a new loyalty rewards system. Both locations reopened more fully in mid May.
“It was a huge wakeup call,” said Molina. “We never had to manage a crisis like this. But thankfully we made some urgent decisions that, in retrospect, helped our businesses out. I think the fact that we were launching something new in the midst of a crisis garnered a lot of interest in us. Staying relevant and being available to our community through these difficult times made a difference. We gained new regulars, and we felt like we gained a lot of respect.”
Molina and company are now focused on getting Take It Easy and the roasting operation up to speed and ratcheting up an “elevated” seasonal mocktail menu to include Colombia-inspired highlights such as aguadepanela, batidos and carajillo.
Take It Easy is now open at 3540 S Wynn Rd in Las Vegas.