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Culture Coffee Too, Coffee Shop, with Plenty of Heart, Soul, and Joe, Reopen at Riggs Road and South Dakota Avenue NE


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Culture Coffee (no connection to the great NY midtown shop of the same name) is the kind of new shop that didn't get a ton of pre-open hype.  To the best of my knowledge, Tim Carman hasn't yet been there.  Nor have the Post, Washingtonian or Eater, or the "other" big food sites buzzed with news of tiny Brightwood Park's new Culture Coffee. Eater's parent, now a crown jewel of Vox Media did have a few mentions on its real estate site.   That pretty much leaves local neighborhood sites like Prince of Petworth, who has been on the case. The comments on this thread are mostly heartwarming and encouraging. Today was their 10th day.

There hasn't been much big splashy and buzzy media coverage because Brightwood Park, a sliver of a neighborhood just north of Petworth, doesn't have a dozen cranes looming overhead.  There isn't a trolley line under development as in the not-so-nearby Atlas District.  Rents are markedly lower than in the hotter-than-hot 14UP corridor, Shaw, Bloomingdale, Northwest and even Southwest. The closest Starbucks to Culture is maybe 15 blocks north in Brightwood. The closest great independent, Qualia, is about 16 blocks to the south.  CapitalBikeshare, though not too far away, hasn't yet fully embraced this area.

So, absent a lot of competition, Culture has chosen a potentially good spot at which to open its doors; in an area likely to welcome it with open arms as already evident from the comments on the popville topic to which I linked just above.  In an area we might euphemistically say is "under served."  The city thought so too and awarded them a very small grant  to help establish a pleasant gathering place with good signage, plenty of light and comfortable seating for about ten. Just one two top with the rest comfy chairs for now.

I stopped in at Culture this week. The owners couldn't have been nicer or more excited to have planted a community-oriented coffee shop flag in their neighborhood.  They have a website here.  They are trying to appeal to as many customers as they can with smoothies, some lunch items like wraps and sandwiches, a few pastry/cake options and the coffee program.

Culture doesn't do pourovers or french press or any brew-to-order coffees.  They'll usually have 2 or 3 pre-brewed coffee options from small pots they keep full.  The Simonetti espresso maker enables the usual menu of espresso drinks. I had a cappuccino which was fine. They serve takeaway drinks in styrofoam but will be transitioning to more environmentally friendly cups soon.

Culture is a somewhat unusual independent shop in carrying Swing's coffee.  In that, they share something in common with the new Palena coffee shop.

Is Culture a shop to drive across town for that rivals the best shops in the city? No.

But it is a shop full of heart and soul. The colorful, dynamic artwork of a local artist (also featured on their Facebook page) adorns the shop. And, two owners with big smiles are there thrilled to be serving all who come in.  I hope the surrounding neighborhoods put a bear hug around this place. Not just by patronizing them but also by giving them feedback and helping them; they seem very open to it. They've already been hosting the local ANC and other meetings. They'll be hosting open mike nights. In short, this a place about which I'd be ecstatic if I lived in the area. I'm pretty excited about Culture even though I won't be a regular.  :)

It's great to see a shop open here with such magnetic spirit and vibe. I wish them all the best.

And, yes Cheeze, free WiFi!   ;)

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