Downtown Plano is getting quite hip. Gone are the days when stores there used to sell Ty Beanie Babies. Now adorable restaurants and jewelry shops line main street, while happy people stroll about… even when it’s muggy outside. (Saturday weather, you kinda sucked.)
Just down the street from the barbecue restaurant—sure to draw in huge crowds—is downtown Plano’s newest little diamond: a coffeehouse called Fourteen Eighteen. Plano citizens have been telling me about this shop since it first opened in late July this year, but I’ve been putting it off. Then this New York Times article, which described how owners Melissa and Gerry Owen set up their coffee business in the most unconventional way, convinced me to make the hike up North Central Expressway. I’m glad I did.
Jump if you love lattes.
It’s a sweet story, really. Mr. Owen and Ms. Owen, his second wife, were married in Generator Coffeeshop. When Mr. Owen got wind that Generator’s owner needed to sell his business, he and his bride thought maybe they could run their own store. Except there was one little problem: they had never done anything like it before.
Ms. Owen, a nurse, and Mr. Owen, an assistant pastor at a Garland church, decided to use PivotPlanet to find themselves a mentor. For $2,000 each, the website matched them with Duncan Goodall, owner of Koffee on Audobon in New Haven, Connecticut. The couple flew up and spent two days with Goodall, an expert who taught them everything about owning a coffeehouse. He even told them not to buy Generator.
Like all good students, the Owens listened and passed on buying the Generator. Instead, they acquired a little building at 1418 Avenue K in downtown Plano. It was perfect.
A visit to Fourteen Eighteen will leave you floored, especially if you read the New York Times article. There are zero signs that the Owens—once upon a time—had no clue what they were doing. Something feels oddly familiar about the whole place. It’s hard to put your finger on it, but you feel like you’ve been here before. What is it… what is it…
Ah. It all makes sense now. It feels like home.
A couple people were studying/working/reading along the brick wall to the right. Comfortable, mismatched, and colorful couches provide different types of seating. A man, at one point, plops down on a tan U-shaped couch, tummy-side up, and spread-eagles his whole body across it. Nobody says a thing. This is completely acceptable here. The left wall looks like it’s made from recycled wood, judging by all the nails that are still in it.
All the coffee here is roasted by Oak Cliff Coffee Roasters, and every cup I’ve had is worth a drive down from Dallas. (I’m talking to you, you south-of-635 snobs.) Desserts and pastries are made by Bertrands, a company that distributes specialty foods, and baked in-house. The apple crumb square, with its powdery-sugary-top and buttery soft base pairs well with the Chemex for two. It arrives in its hippie-esque, handblown glass form with two blank white mugs. I could write sonnets all day about this cup o’ joe, but I’ll spare you the pain. This coffee is so darn good you don’t need any sugar or milk to mask the taste. I promise it’s not too bitter. Drinking it straight-up black is the only way to go.
The lattes at Fourteen Eighteen make me wish the Pearl Cup in our building would go poof! and disappear for a day. I want Fourteen Eighteen to move in. (Too harsh? Sorry, Pearl Cup. I still love your service.) I adore the purple haze latte, this month’s featured drink, made by barista Meredith. You can get it hot or iced, and I opted for the former. Hints of vanilla and lavender make this latte a great fall choice. I’m diggin’ the purple.
Sandwiches here are made in the back. There’s a smoked turkey and brie; a deli roast beef with horseradish cheddar; and a chicken salad with cranberries and whole pecans.
One of these lunchtime sandwiches with a French press or latte will make you never want to leave Fourteen Eighteen. If you start snoring on one of the couches, don’t blame me for sending you there. Go forth and prosper.