Every neighborhood needs a coffee shop, and for Bluff Park, Wild Roast Café fills the void.
When Bart and Shannon Styes recently opened the new spot it didn’t take long to understand why the community needed a coffee shop. Within days of a soft opening, a culture was already established.
“We’ve had people in here working on papers, we had someone in here prepping a medical procedure they were going to perform, which is amazing,” Styes said on the third day of their soft opening. “There was a guy was working on a deadline over here, someone was working remotely over here.”
There have been other customers that enjoyed a cup of coffee with a game of Scrabble. Styes said two entrepreneurs who both live in the neighborhood but didn’t know each other met at Wild Roast Café and started working on ways to connect with a non-profit. Moms have met up and discussed parenting while their children played.
And Styes saw all these things within the first week of Wild Roast Café’s soft opening.
“As much as we like to think of everyone on their phones in coffee shops or with ear buds in, and sometimes that’s what people do and that fine, this is a coffee shop where I can take a snapshot, look around and almost everyone is talking to somebody,” Styes said.
1. Try something new
Within days of Wild Roast Café’s soft opening, there was an enthusiasm you’re not going to find at coffee shop chains. Styes says his business has a “kind of neighborhood living room” vibe, which matches Bluff Park to a T. There’s a uniqueness to Wild Roast Café that is worth experiencing. With plenty of seating (and different styles of seating), it’s a great place to meet friends, have an out-of-office meeting or any other reason that gives you an excuse to enjoy a cup of coffee.
2. Location, location, location
Wild Roast Café is located at 585 Shades Crest Road in Hoover, making it easily accessible. For Hoover residents on the eastern side of town, a trip to Shades Crest provides a scenic view that never loses its awe. For anyone who is not in Hoover, Wild Roast Café is easily accessible from I-65 via the Alford Avenue exit. And once the coffee shop opens with regular morning hours, it’s located along Hoover commuters back-road drive to downtown Birmingham.
3. Why have a latte when you can have a Harper Latte? (Or other drinks with punny names.)
You’ll have the opportunity to order classic drinks at Wild Roast Café, but the menu will also have some fun options.
The Oreo Speedwagon (a pun off the band REO Speedwagon) has already been introduced — and it’s amazing! But there will be other drinks with Alabama flare, include a Harper Latte, named after author Harper Lee, and a Soy Wood Jr., named in honor of Birmingham native and comedian Roy Wood Jr. Shannon Styes is also reportedly working on a Purple Rain-based drink that’ll be added to the menu around Prince’s birthday.
“We’re having a lot of fun with the menu,” Bart Styes said. “We’re going to have a lot more creativity in here and just have fun with it.”
4. Coffee with a view
Having a good cup of coffee in a great atmosphere is one thing, but Wild Roast Café’s view looking off Shades Mountain is something else.
5. Support the Bluff Park community
While Wild Roast Café works to get fully going, its website provides some key information on what to expect when it’s fully operational.
Of those things, supporting the Bluff Park community is one. According to the website, Wild Roast Café will provide support to music and art education in local schools. You can check out the website here.
Wild Roast Café’s Story
Bart and Shannon’s fun comes after a lot of work to get Wild Roast Café to where it is now. They met in 2004, and Bart Styes said as long as he’s known Shannon, she wanted to open a business. He said she’s always supported his crazy adventures, so last fall they just kind of went for it.
The week before Labor Day they put a poll on Facebook to let friends decide what type of business they should open. Two days after the poll results were astoundingly coffee shop, Styes made a verbal agreement to take over a lease a month later and the Tuesday after Labor Day they set up an LLC. The following day, he told his boss he’d need full time to work on the property, and off Bart went on the adventure of opening Wild Roast Café.
The coffee shop guests see today took “a lot” of work, Bart said, because it’s commercial. He obtained permits around Thanksgiving to mid-December then professionals started work in January. Once they completed their work, Shannon and Bart were assisted by friends for the remainder of the work leading up to the soft opening in March.
What’s funny now is Shannon says she wouldn’t suggest opening a business they way they did. But she adds sometimes you have to take the opportunity when it’s presented.
Entering April, Wild Roast Café is still working through its soft opening. A grand opening date is TBA, but once the full staff feels comfortable on all machinery and the full menu is ready, Bluff Park’s new coffee shop will be open 7 days a week.
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