Matt Pool on Diners, Drive-ins and Dives, His Last Meal on Earth, and What Most People Don't Know About Coffee
Were there any gigantic (or small but crucial) lessons you learned the first year at MBB?: Always buy new refrigerators if you can afford it. I think most restaurateurs will agree.
What kind of coffee research did you do before opening Giant Coffee?:
We visited over a hundred coffee bars all over the country, both good and bad. Going to a bunch of places helped me determine what I didn't like and didn't want to do at our own shop. For me, research like that is the key to narrowing down exactly what your vision for a new place is. If you open up thinking you know everything, you don't.
When you opened Giant, did you feel like you were working with a completely different animal? Or did you feel you already knew the drill?: Not a completely different animal at all. Our goal has always been to focus like a laser on great ingredients and service. We use top-quality beans roasted by Four Barrel Coffee, Straus Organic Barista Milk, all organic produce and we bake everything in-house. It is a really expensive and serious commitment on our part, and it's what I hope sets us apart from other shops. It's always been our belief that the same model for Matt's should work for Giant Coffee, too.
What do most people not understand about coffee?: That great coffee starts with the fruit, not the roast. If you buy low-quality, cheap beans, it doesn't matter how you roast them, they won't taste good in the cup.