by Jonathan Bender
The age of a coffee shop can apparently be told in the number of materials used to build the barista bar. When the staff at PT’s Coffee Roasting Co. began to take apart the bar inside the space at 310 Southwest Boulevard last Friday night, they discovered solid oak, pine, concrete, slate and tile.
“You’ve watched Extreme Makeover Home Edition,” Educational Coordinator Josip Drazenovich says. “That’s what happened here.”
The bar was actually several coffee bars stacked atop one another like layers of roofing shingles — vestiges of Coffee Girls and the Crossroads Coffeehouse. The Southwest Boulevard spot has been a coffee shop for the past 11 years. This morning, the space was officially reborn as PT’s Coffee at the Crossroads (PT’s had been running the former Crossroads Coffeehouse since March).
“It’s great to be in a place that’s had coffee for years. Now we can just do our thing in here which is coffee with love. Because without love, it’s just coffee,” Drazenovich says.
PT’s closed the shop at 10 p.m. on Friday and reopened at 6 a.m. this morning. The space was reinvented with the help of Second Life Studios, a Kansas City design build firm.
“We wanted to connect people to the coffee,” Chris Gorney, principal and lead designer with Second Life, says. “The bar is open because it’s ideal for social interaction. The tables end in a waterfall [shape] to help guide people through the space.”
As part of building that connection, Second Life constructed the tables and part of the barista bar out of the palettes used to ship the coffee served in the cafe. The new shop marks a return to the Kansas City market for the Topeka-based PT’s. Owners Fred Polzin and Jeff Taylor owned and operated a cafe in Overland Park between 2000 and 2004. The original Topeka location, PT’s at College Hill, opened in 1993.
Cold brew and iced coffee is serious business at PT’s. Their cold brew is available by the glass, in growlers and on a nitro tap (a tap that inject nitrous oxide as the coffee pours out, yielding a creamy, smooth cup). They’ll also be offering single origin coffee made in the slow-drip Kyoto-style. Once the Kyoto coffee is online, Drazenovich does a take on a Sazerac, one of a few coffee-based virgin cocktails he has planned, with grapefruit bitters and orange zest in a glass rinsed with anise syrup. He calls it “Prozac.”
“People love our iced coffee,” Drazenovich says. He also points people toward the Shakeratto — a classic Italian drink made with shaken expresso served over ice with lemon peel and a dap of simple syrup.
The pastries are all baked in house with the exception of the cookies made by Scratch Bakery. PT’s makes scones (today was apricot walnut and white chocolate cherry) and muffins during the week, and will be doing turnovers on the weekends.
“We just want to showcase local goods and do things well,” says retail manager Forrest Wright.
Like the Crossroads Coffeehouse before it, PT’s has a sandwich bar. The sauces (rosemary pistachio pesto to curry mayo to truffle aioli) are house made. The bread for the sandwiches is made by Wheatfields Bakery in Lawrence and the meat (currently roasted ham and pork belly) will be a rotating selection from the Local Pig.
PT’s at the Crossroads is open from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday. The phone number is 816-225-2402.
“We’re super excited to be in Kansas City,” Drazenovich says.