Genuine Joe Coffeehouse: To Close, to Move, to Celebrate

Local longtime java joint gets filmed, fêted by its own barista

The venerable building that’s been home to Genuine Joe Coffeehouse at 2001 W. Anderson is being sold, local barista and filmmaker Meg Cazin tells us, and so the northside caffeinery is looking for a new place to exist before the hammer falls.

Problematic state of affairs for a 15-year-old business that was awarded an Austin Chronicle Critics’ Pick – “Best Dispenser of Caffeine and Comfort“ – in 2019, perhaps, but – well, that’s our city, isn’t it? Especially these days? Growing like some kind of tech-flooded, developer-fertilized weed.

Oh, and that Meg Cazin? Local barista, we say, because she’s worked the counter at Genuine Joe for almost a year now.

Filmmaker, we also say, because, as Cazin tells us: “I shot, directed, and edited a documentary that’s basically a behind-the-scenes look at Genuine Joe. I started it a few months after being hired, and haven’t stopped creating it ’til now. It covers who the staff are, why they love it here, and why this kind of artistic and positive community works. It’s about an hour long, and it features the owner Josh Brown and the manager Cleo Berry, along with the rest of the staff – Jordan Hix, Jake Meyers, Yael Wiechmann, Corey Maier, and Nikki Rose.”

That documentary will be screened after a relocation fundraiser at the coffeehouse on Fri., May 13, 7-9pm.

“Those two hours will be a real celebration,” says Cazin, “with live music from the Genuine Joe baristas themselves, and a clown act – also performed by a barista – and fun activities like ‘What’s your favorite thing about Genuine Joe?’ and a silent auction and a dog kissing booth. And then, at 9pm, we’ll show two documentaries. The first one was directed by McKenzie Bentley, a UT film student and one of our regular customers; it’s about 20 minutes long, and it’s basically an introduction to the whole situation Genuine Joe is having to face. And then we’ll show my doc – so people will get the story from a customer’s perspective and a barista’s perspective.”

It’ll be a rare opportunity to enjoy the backstory of this Austin icon while partying within its own longtime venue, to learn the history while being part of its history. To experience an ongoing narrative that –

“Oh!” says Cazin, excited for Friday’s event. “Right before we start the actual screenings, we’ll bring out the two piñatas!”

Sounds like a fun – yet slightly bittersweet – night.

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