By Glen Vaughn-Petersen and Kathy Feist
There’s a shakeup coming to Martin City.
Martin City Coffee, 131st and Holmes, is closing December 31st.
Dos de Oros Taqueria will open in its location this summer.
A new coffee shop will take over business at the nearby pastry shop on January 1st.
Open since 2018, Martin City Coffee has become a busy mainstay in Martin City.
“Without a doubt, the best part of the past four years have been the customer connections and the employee connections–-the family-like atmosphere we have been so blessed to experience,” Penny Romero, owner and founder of Martin City Coffee, stated in a recent post on NextDoor.com. Increasing prices of goods and ingredients, as well as increased wages, have been weighing hard on Romero. “We have learned, and witnessed, that there are many kind and wonderful people all around us. This alone has been the single reason we have stayed open. I am eternally grateful to every single person who has walked into our coffee shop, as an employee, a friend, a customer.”
After opening Martin City Coffee, Romero and partner Rick Ramsey soon opened a second business on the north end of the property, Ramsey’s Burgers, in 2020. It closed in 2021 during the pandemic. In May 2022, the location opened as Penny’s Bakery, a retail and wholesale pastry shop and drive-thru. The retail closed by September, but the wholesale bakery is still in operation.
Dos de Oros Taqueria, located off Blue Ridge Boulevard and Holmes Road, will be moving into the space Martin City Coffee leaves behind. The Taqueria, an offshoot of Dos de Oros Restaurant nearby, has struggled with parking issues since it opened 12 years ago. The new location should expand their customer base by taking advantage of the former coffee shop’s drive-thru. Miguel Cervantes, owner of Dos De Oros, said he hopes to open the new Taqueria location in the summer of 2023. Cervantes has already begun dismantling part of the coffee shop’s entryway exterior to make way for a covered patio setting and new breezeway.
Romero, though she is closing Martin City Coffee and Penny’s Bakery, will still be present in Martin City’s business sphere. She will be assisting her former manager Phillip Stegner in the process of opening up his own coffee shop, P.S. Coffee and Drive-Thru, in the location of Penny’s Bakery, directly north of the store. “He’s been with us for four years, so I told him I’d help him,” says Romero of Stegner.
Stegner was the first barista Romero hired when Martin City Coffee was still in its youth.
He plans to open P.S. Coffee on January 1st. While Stegner will carry much of the same menu items, he plans to offer more health-oriented fare and fewer Venezuelan dishes. He also will not carry the Intelligentsia brand of coffee which is a Chicago product. “It’s expensive,” he says. “I also want to source locally.” He plans to rework the layout of the bakery’s interior and have a grand opening in the spring. When the coffee shop opens January 1st, it will still serve Intelligentsia coffee until the product is gone and pastries will still be made inhouse. A small seating area will be available.
In the meantime, Romero and Ramsey will be planning the construction of a 14-unit strip mall in the residential lots directly across the street from Martin City Coffee. Plans to break ground are scheduled for March 20, 2023, and plan to open around spring of 2024.
Despite all these changes coming for the future, Martin City Coffee has certainly left its mark on the city.