Adding to his Westheimer Empire in Montrose (Anvil, Underbelly, The Hay Merchant and now Blacksmith), bartender, bar owner and now serial business opener, Bobby Heugel announced a new addition to the family scheduled to open in spring of next year. This time, the liquid of choice is coffee.
David Buehrer and Ecky Prabanto are the coffee brains and co-owners/founders behind Blacksmith, which will take over the location of the once-iconic gay bar, Mary's Naturally. Buehrer and Prabanto's current shop, Greenway Coffee & Tea, with its cult-like following, will continue to operate as before. Buehrer and Prabanto also run a coffee roasting business, Greenway Coffee.
According to the press release, "Blacksmith is the fourth affiliated concept in a separate, but loosely collaborative effort," but continues, "They aren’t by any means a restaurant group."
BLACKSMITH – A NEW COFFEE SHOP FROM DAVID BUEHRER & ECKY PRABANTO TO OPEN
OPENING AT 1018 WESTHEIMER ROAD IN SPRING, 2012
David Buehrer is finally moving out of the basement! David and his better half, Ecky Prabanto, have agreed to general terms with the partners of Underbelly and Hay Merchant to develop the building that formerly housed the bar Mary’s Naturally into a coffee shop. Minor construction and planning for the shop, which will be called Blacksmith, has already begun with a projected opening date of Spring, 2012. David feels “the name ‘Blacksmith’ reflects a kindred spirit among baristas and the antiquated laborers who sought to craft something by hand with uncompromising quality and attention to detail.”
David and Ecky built a dedicated following by serving some of the city’s best coffee out of their small shop, Greenway Coffee & Tea, located in Greenway Plaza Building #5’s underground food court. While the Greenway shop will continue with regular operations, an easily accessible place for Houstonians to experience David and Ecky’s unique talents is long overdue. Their most recent endeavor, the roasting company Greenway Coffee, will play an integral part in the shop. Ecky’s ability to select and roast unique and memorable coffees will play a particularly important role in establishing a special place for coffee fanatics and casual drinkers alike.
In addition to David’s passion for coffee, his reputation as one of the city’s most knowledgeable food personalities will certainly play into the shop. While concept development is still in the works, expect a small, but full kitchen, which meets David’s exceptionally high standards for food — he’s kinda picky. In addition to being able to get a great bite to eat with your coffee, the shop’s “blacksmiths” will include baristas from around the country (New York City, New Orleans, Grand Rapids, and Seattle) as well as to talented Houstonians.
The location of the shop continues a recent trend of progressive culinary ventures in the area. Houston is not unaccustomed to sudden neighborhood trends, but this one seems grounded in established Montrose traditions. “Ecky and I are so excited to play a small role in what is happening in the Montrose area. We love the neighborhood and can’t wait to be a part of the growing number of passionate folks revitalizing the area,” David says. There may be new faces in the Montrose, but those who are familiar with the area will recognize a consistent attitude. For decades, Montrose housed individuals and businesses that were passionate about who they are and what they stand for. Montrose’s new residents seem to be firmly rooted in the same beliefs, and it is reassuring to know that folks like David and Ecky will continue to instill this mentality into Montrose’s newest establishments.
Blacksmith is the fourth affiliated concept in a separate, but loosely collaborative effort among the partners to continue to push Houston’s culinary scene forward. By forming relationships that continue to put talented personalities in unique spaces, the partners feel that they are impacting what it is like to be a Houston resident in small, but meaningful ways. They aren’t by any means a restaurant group; but they do have common perspectives on the city they love and respect each other enough to use their varying resources to create opportunities for one another.