Today I’m pleased to bring a preview post of Rochester’s newest specialty coffee shop, Ugly Duck Coffee! For those that haven’t found their way to Ugly Duck yet, Rory van Grol is a veteran barista who has been running his own pop up espresso based shop around the city since mid 2015. He also won a well deserved Best Barista award in the 2015 City Newspaper Best of poll for his work at Joe Bean and at his cart. He has been working on transforming the former 1975 Gallery in the East End into an urban coffee oasis in and around all the massive construction efforts on the Inner Loop and new buildings.
This is the first inside look at Ugly Duck’s setup and I’m happy to announce that their soft opening is right around the corner. Pay close attention to their Facebook or Instagram feeds so you can be one of the first people to check out the new space in person. Hint: you may be able to stop in as soon as next week so keep your eyes open!
The buildout at 89 Charlotte Street (located right behind Hart’s Local Grocers) is rounding into good shape with a simple, comfortable color scheme and will be packed with natural light from all angles. The space is stacked with Staach wood pieces throughout – I loved the design of the tables and chairs with the white frames in the room and the bar setup is simple while still being eye catching and functional. When I was in there, the accoutrements (art pieces etc) were still in work so I didn’t take any big space pictures but I’m sure there will be more coming out on that soon.
At opening, the coffee program will be multi roaster based and focused on espresso drinks (with or without milk) and Fetco batch brew coffee. When I say multi roaster, it means that Rory will be working with roasters to highlight coffee both locally and from around the country. The cool part about this is that it allows the consumer to try out different coffees over time so you can compare and contrast which I personally find fascinating. Being able to try Gimme! Coffee from Ithaca one visit, Four Barrel from San Francisco another and then compare it with a Joe Bean or Fuego roast is a cool opportunity.
In addition, Rory is looking forward to doing some selective hand brew options and working with local baristas to have guest nights where they can show off their creativity in a new space. I know many are looking forward to contributing so keep an eye out for this in the future. What came across during my talk with Rory is that he is excited to use the resources around him to try and further build the already solid coffee community in Rochester.
From a personal standpoint, Rory is one of the most genuine and enjoyable people to talk to in the food/drink scene in Rochester. He is both well informed and willing to talk about anything and everything and of course he knows his craft from top to bottom. I would highly recommend trying out the new spot when they crack their doors open and trying some of Rory’s fantastic espresso!