Zach Moores is built for conversation. He’s quick with a story, easy with a smile and not afraid of eye contact. But there’s not a lot of opportunity to connect when you’re spending 12 hours a day crawling across the roofs of houses. Moores, who will open Crows Coffee (304 E 51st Street) this June, was an insurance adjustor back in October 2012 when he was sent to New York City to document the devastation in the wake of Hurricane Sandy.
“I’d start my day with a 12 oz. breve [espresso and steamed half-and-half] and end it the same way. Coffee shops just let me scratch my social itch and meet native New Yorkers,” Moores says of his daily routine. “Whatever city I was in for work, coffee shops have let me feel a little rooted.”
Now, he wants to bring some roots to Kansas City. At the end of 2012, Moores left his job as an insurance adjustor and walked into the local office for the U.S. Small Business Administration. Over the past 18 months, he developed a business plan, secured a loan and signed the lease on a former Pryde Cleaners space.
“Kansas City has a really good coffee culture. I think we’ve reached a tipping point and I’m kind of coming in at the right time,” Moore says. “I went to Visitation and was born at St. Luke’s. This is my home.”
Moores has been working to build out the shop for the past three months. He’s exposed the concrete floor and brick walls in an effort to bring an industrial feel to the space. His cycling group painted light bulb covers this week and the coffee bar — a reclaimed wood trimmed with metal stamped with “crows feet,” — is being built by Organic Iron Concepts. In an effort to create a social atmosphere, Moores will have a community table fashioned from an old coal ramp discovered in the basement and a pair of picnic tables out front.
“I have a tendency to start conversations and I love that. I want to encourage people to do that,” Moore says. “But we’ll also have a corner you can hide in or just enjoy a cup of coffee.”
His coffee will come from Messenger Coffee (profiled earlier this week) and the drinks menu will be simple to start.
“Crows are black and dark like coffee. They’re really curious and complicated birds and I think coffee can be kind of like that in a way,” Moores says. “Crows are a bit misunderstood and coffee is too.”
Crows will be doing pour-overs with a Chemex. Moores will make Toddy for iced coffees, but would like to add a Kyoto-style drip maker in the future. Crows will also serve tea, a seasonal smoothie flavor (made with yogurt or orange juice) and Italian sodas.
Moores will source his food menu from several local bakers: croissants from Le Monde Bakery, Star Bars and sea salt chocolate chip cookies from Chelsea’s Bakehaus, and Bob’s Biscotti. Once he feels that he and his staff can execute the menu, Moores wants to add more savory food offerings.
Crows will be open from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily.
“The weekend mornings are the best time to get coffee. There’s no pressure. You can can take a little bike ride to the shop and get a great cup of coffee. That’s what it’s all about,” Moores says.