Bennu Coffee Debuts Third Location at Highland
Local java powerhouse expands its caffeine-forward community
By Wayne Alan Brenner,
7:00PM, Fri. Jul. 24, 2020
When you have a venue that is Bennu, then you tend to vend few menu items other than those that are perfectly wonderful.
That’s one reason for the success of the coffee shop started by Steve and Stephanie Williams on East MLK back in 2009. The provisions provided, the excellent java purveyed – that’s the reason. That, and the friendly service and knowledgeable baristas. That, and the welcoming and impressive (especially that big, wraparound, custom-built counter, OMG) interior design of the place. That, and how it was always open 24/7 – a big deal for students and everworking entrepreneur types.
Bennu was already kicking the ass of the Local Success Story paradigm in 2012, when we interviewed a group of coffee shop owners about what it’s like trying to make it in the industry. And then they opened a second Bennu venue in 2017, taking over what had been Dominican Joe at the corner of Congress and Riverside.
(And then, at that South Congress location, there was an incident in which a disturbed citizen, brandishing a knife – well, it wasn’t other than ugly and fatal and you can read about that here. But Bennu was able to rebound from the unnerving event and that darkling memory is now just water and blood under the bridge.)
And so, coffee-forward and community-involved, the two Williams-owned stores continued to thrive – hurray! And then, guess what?
Did you guess “pandemic,” friend? Because, yes, that’s precisely what.
But this is no unhappy ending. And you know that already, of course, having entered this report via reading the headline in the first place.
On Saturday, July 25, Bennu Coffee, still going strong, presents the grand opening of its third location: At the FiveTwo at Highland development surrounding the ACC Highland campus at Fontaine Lane and Airport Blvd. And whether you choose to stop in for a cup or a gallon to go – or if you’d like to sit inside or out on the tree-covered grove — Bennu Coffee #3 has plenty of room for social distancing.
”What we’ve learned over the past few months at the east and south locations,” says Stephanie Williams, “is that we’ve got to continue adapting to serve people in a way that keeps everyone as safe as possible and meeting their personal comfort level.”
But we did mention interior design as one of the cafe’s attractions, and that factor hasn’t been neglected in this new space, either: Bennu at Highland has a spacious library design motif complete with a secret door.
Note: Bennu Coffee is forgoing an opening event per se, instead offering an open-house approach on Saturday, to allow people to safely visit the new location. Parking is available in the free covered parking garage, and masks will be required on the premises unless seated at a distance of six feet or more indoors. Outdoor seating areas are also available in the plaza.
(This newest of the three Bennu outposts is open from 6am-7pm daily.)
Bonus: This weekend marks the opening of a temporary exhibition by artist Ryan Runcie, who has also created a permanent work for the space.
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