First Look

Coffee Concept Takes a Leap with Uptown Park Locale, Expansion Plans

Giant Leap Coffee opens its second location as it readies a move in the East End.

By Adrianne Reece September 23, 2020

Giant Leap Coffee is now open in Uptown Park.

Giant Leap Coffee’s knack for serving stellar roasted coffee, kombucha, and pastries has landed it a new location in Uptown Park, which opened earlier this month at 1135 Uptown Park Blvd.

Before Giant Leap, Logan Beck was seeking a way to pair his visual art background with his admiration of both space and coffee. He started working with Eric Hester to create Rootlab, a design and fabrication company that produced furniture and fixtures for several cafés in Houston. Once Beck and Hester partnered with Lauren Ferrante to create Giant Leap Coffee in 2018 in the East End, Rootlab had another local café to add to their portfolio.

When presented the idea of opening a new location, Giant Leap jumped at the opportunity. Beck says that several executives from Uptown Park’s development company, EDENS, proposed opening a café there after viewing the East End location.

“They loved the concept and asked us if we wanted to open a second location at Uptown Park,” Beck says. “We thought it was a great opportunity, because there is almost no third-wave coffee in the area—plenty of Starbucks but no local coffee.”

Giant Leap maintains its signature menu in this new location. Locally roasted Amaya Coffee is used to make the beverages, and you can also find homemade horchata, a citrusy drink inspired by Vietnamese coffee, and pastries from Tlahuac, Nicolas Vera and Stephanie Velasquez’s traditional Mexican concept.

Like the East End location of Giant Leap, Rootlab’s architectural design includes futuristic details that live up to the café’s name. For example, a lunar lander model dresses the glass case below the register, and their bar front has a high-resolution image of a moon’s crater, creating contrast with the bar’s wood.

In preparation for the company’s Uptown Park opening, Beck worked with designers Daniel Cardoza and Enrique Garza Jr. to develop a comic book, The Cosmic Adventures of Buzz and Bean. Posted on Giant Leap’s Instagram, this 13-episode comic follows heroes Buzz and Bean as they scour the universe for new sources of coffee. The company also created a coloring book version of the comic for sale, allowing customers to customize Buzz and Bean’s journey as they anticipated the new location.

“The response has been amazing,” Beck says. “Everyone at Uptown keeps telling us how glad they are that we’re finally open.”

While Giant Leap is all systems go in Uptown Park, the East End location has been closed as the group plans to move five blocks away into a 3,200-square-foot space at The Plant at Harrisburg.

The expanded location will sport a full kitchen, dining room, and patio with an open-air skylight. Once it's open, Beck hopes to expand the café’s breakfast and lunch menus with Tlahuac, introduce a new beer and wine program, and start hosting community events.

“The Plant at Harrisburg is a great spot for us to grow,” Beck says. “We noticed trends—our weekday regulars would come in Sunday morning with their families and get pastries and lattes and hang out on our little patio. Group bike riders would stop by and grab an espresso mid-ride. We loved this kind of thing and realized pretty quickly that we needed a larger space to really be able to lean into being the spot where people did more and more of this.”

With The Plant at Harrisburg already sporting two cocktail bars—How to Survive Land & Sea and Night Shift, a Rootlab collaboration with mixologists Patrick Abalos and Justin Ware—Giant Leap Coffee’s culinary presence in the East End seamlessly fits.

“We’re really proud of the leaps and bounds we’ve made as a company,” says Beck. “We worked out a lot of the kinks in the original location and learned a lot as a management team. I think we were able to show we can do this on the small scale, and our investors trusted us to take it bigger. We’re currently in permitting and are hoping to have the new shop open by the end of the year.”

For now, Giant Leap is planning on opening a pop-up near the closed East End location until the shop there reopens.

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