by Kyla Hurt
Click on photo for captioned slideshow
New name. New feel. New look. Newman starts fresh with Elm City Roastery, a hand-crafted coffee and juice bar.
Jeff Newman is introducing Elm City Roastery, along with roasting partner, Richard Dunseth. Elm City Roastery is the new name of The Fresh Press, the business that Newman purchased around six months ago.
Newman explains the meaning behind the name, “Jacksonville’s nickname used to Elm City because of all the elms that were lined up along streets like College and State, that all went away when a pandemic came across.”
Then, Dunseth chimes in, “The elm disease wiped out the elm trees in Jacksonville, and I think the other thing is poor Jeff ended up with a guy who is old enough to be his father [Newman laughs], who remembers when this was Elm City.”
Newman goes on to talk about the why of the name change, “With the shutdown and everything … we took this over in January, which is only six short months ago, but in that six months, this place has changed enough … I didn’t want it to be just that The Fresh Press added coffee. I wanted it to be something totally new.” Elm City Roastery officially opened on Tuesday, June 30.
Dunseth says, “It’s a collaboration I think that … we’re finding is very similar. Fresh is definitely a key word in it. We fresh roast. We fresh brew. We fresh squeeze … All those things are happening after you get here and tell us what to do.”
Dunseth wants to clarify, though, noting, “This is Jeff’s place … he and I got together, but I’m roasting for the shop … I’m certain, you know, the more coffee you give me, the more I’ll talk about it.”
“The short of it is I partnered with Richard Dunseth,” says Newman.
Elm City Roastery will have a “slow beverage experience,” says Newman. This means that your items are made when you order and are as fresh as possible. Therefore, they may take a bit more time to make, but you’re getting the freshest possible product. This experience also lends itself to a more relaxed time of day, explains Newman, “with the thought that people might just want to sit together and talk to each other.”
The hours of Elm City Roastery will be adjusted to afternoons and evenings. The hours are Wednesday and Thursday, 1-7 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 10 a.m.-8 p.m.; and Sunday, 10 a.m.- 3 p.m. They will be closed Monday and Tuesday.
Dunseth will be roasting off-hours as it takes some concentration to roast, but the two hope to have some “show-and-tell” events later on. Dunseth looks to a nodding Newman, and says, “He’s going to learn to roast, too. We’ll work together to decide this is how we want to roast this coffee.” The two even talk about bringing in some others that they know enjoy roasting.
“I’m not looking for work,” says Dunseth. “But I am looking to have fun until I reach my expiration date,” he says with a laugh.
Coffee beans are for sale at Elm City Roastery and are roasted in the shop. All hand-packaged coffee beans are labeled with the roast date.
There is a coffee menu available for the coffee customers, including decaf. Dunseth says that patrons can inquire with specific bean requests. They think it makes a difference that it was roasted within the last week, agree Newman and Dunseth. They offered me coffee upon arrival for the interview and the first thing out of my mouth after savoring the Ethiopian coffee that had literally just been brewed to order for me was, “I usually put sugar in my coffee; I don’t even need to put anything in this because the flavor is so unique and smooth.” I was impressed.
Of course, it isn’t only the freshly brewed-to-order coffee, there is everything else. The juices and smoothies that have been offered the last three months will still be available, says Newman. Plus, he’s added a new fruit tea blast, which is a blended smoothie drink with seven varieties.
“We’ll have a snack menu … things to munch on while you’re hanging out here … apple nachos, granola bites and brownie bites, for example,” Newman says. He continues, “We had stopped doing ‘food food’ during shutdown and we have no plans of bringing that back. We’re still going to have 10-14 options of stuff to eat, along with our over 50 beverages.” Snacks will include some gluten-free options, notes Newman.
Menus at Elm City Roastery will be for: coffees, smoothies, juices, smoothie bowls, fruit tea blasts and snacks. Juice resets will still be available, along with other miscellaneous beverages. With the collaboration, says Newman, “I get to add a whole new product mix to the menu that I wouldn’t have had access to.” The two are already playing with a lot of ideas for the future, but for now, they’re “hoping that the community will come in and taste it and appreciate it and support it.”
Elm City Roastery is located at 216 S. Mauvaisterre St., the former location of The Fresh Press and previously Frozen Penguin. Contact them at “Elm City Roastery” on Facebook or Instagram, or at 217-245-8085.