After more than a year building out a tiny space in the Outer Sunset, Andytown Coffee Roasters is officially opening. The café is a passion project from couple Michael McCrory and Lauren Crabbe -- two young veterans of the industry who decided to bring the city's coffee zeitgeist to perhaps its quietest outpost yet. We caught up with Crabbe months ago when the spot was slated to open, before a slew of piping problems kept them from closing up the walls for several months. Now we can say, officially, the doors are opening.
The team has been building out the space for so long that despite being technically closed for over a year, they already have regulars. In the quiet pastel landscape of the Outer Sunset, even the small stirring of a steam wand's hiss attracts a lot of curious eyes, and neighbors have been stopping in for enough months now that even a tiny, frenetic neighborhood dog, Dougie Doug, has become the de facto mascot. It's not even open, but Andytown is already tightly woven into the neighborhood, and it's a love affair that goes both ways.
The café's aesthetic is sleek and white with a few rustic edges -- salvaged monkeypod wood, custom clay cups, (including a revolutionary ceramic demitasse by Douglas Dowers that actually fits human-sized fingers) -- and has a very homegrown feel. Andytown -- a nickname for McCrory's hometown of Andersonstown, Belfast -- draws most of its menu from McCrory's upbringing. To start, he'll be cooking griddle-baked soda bread in cast iron, leavened by the mixture of buttermilk and baking soda, as well as oven baking a heartier, wheaten bread. All the pastries are made in house, including muffins, cookies, a crackling, buttery, pastry-wrapped sausage, and in the future, stews and soups. The café is already roasting its own on a 5-kilo Probat that it shares with Orivor, a local roasting project, splitting time on the roaster in exchange for providing space in which to house it. Orivor is also cobranding a coffee with Andytown called L43, named for the intersection where Andytown sits: Lawton and 43rd. The coffee is a collaboration with Patrick Chaffey (Orivor), who will be focusing on building up his own start-up's curation of high-end coffee.
Part of the reason Andytown feels homegrown is because it is. The place was built mostly by Crabbe and McCrory with their industrious friends, and filled in partly by the boomerang of good karma. The interior is literally filled with legacy. To begin, the roaster has been handed down more times than anyone knows. The Idrocompresso espresso machine was acquired from Blue Bottle's MoMa location, and the sign outside is the handiwork of Emily Davis -- metalworker and erstwhile Blue Bottle barista. Soon to come are a set of speakers, gifted by Jeremy Tooker, which he acquired early on in the life of Four Barrel. Even the café recipes are adapted from McCrory's grandmother's. In a word, Andytown keeps it in the family, and the family is a very loving one.
On the coffee side, McCrory will be roasting. To start, watch for a washed Ethiopian Yirgacheffe and a Panamanian that sounds quite good, among a few others. The espresso, named Short Strand after McCrory's father's neighborhood in Belfast, mixes a sweet and robust Brazilian coffee with a bright, clean Ethiopian. This is not the kind of coffee language that gets thrown around the Outer Sunset all that much, but judging by the steady stream of regulars, that's about to change.
Visit Andytown at 3655 Lawton St. (at 43rd). Starting off, hours will be Tuesday to Thursday 7 a.m. to 12 p.m., Friday to Saturday 7 a.m. to 3 p.m., and Sunday 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. And don't forget the grand opening party this Saturday, March 22, from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.