Dutch Bros. Coffee files plans to build new drive-thru shop along south Iowa Street
photo by: Shutterstock
The highly caffeinated “bros” are coming to Lawrence. Dutch Bros. Coffee has filed plans with Lawrence City Hall to build a new drive-thru coffee shop along south Iowa Street.
The shop will be the first in Lawrence for the West Coast company, and it will be taking a spot that once was set aside for an expanding Arkansas chain of coffee shops. Dutch Bros. plans to build its new 950-square foot drive-thru shop at 25th and Iowa streets, in the parking lot of the shopping center that includes Planet Fitness, Office Depot and other retailers.
You may recall that about a year ago we reported Arkansas-based Seven Brew Drive-Thru coffee had filed plans to build at that site. Well, that deal has fallen through, a real estate representative for the site told me. But Dutch Bros. jumped at the opportunity to locate on the property, and already has signed a lease for the site, according to the real estate agent.
Dutch Bros. previously had filed plans to locate along 23rd Street in Lawrence, but that particular development never could win City Commission approval.
This project is more straightforward. Plans call for the coffee shop to be built just south of the Pacific Dental building that was constructed in the 25th and Iowa parking lot last year.
In terms of what you will find once the brothers land, well, coffee, of course. But the company that got its start in a small Oregon community in the 1990s is a lot about vibes, too. The company indeed was started by a pair of brothers, and they were of Dutch heritage. It also is probably fair to say that they knew more about the cream you may put in your coffee than the actual coffee itself.
Founders Dane and Travis Boersma were in the dairy business when they decided to give coffee a try. They practiced with an espresso machine in a barn, and then took the plunge in 1992 by buying a push cart to sell coffee in their hometown of Grants Pass, Oregon.
As far as the vibes go, the company touts that the brothers — who, based on photos, appeared to be pretty young when they started the coffee business — liked to not only sell coffee out of their pushcart, but also “rock their favorite music” while doing so. It seems like they missed an opportunity to say that they like to rock to their favorite “mooosic,” given that they are dairy farmers.
Before you groan too much, the company really does call its baristas “broistas.” And it does so unapologetically. This 2016 Forbes profile highlighted how company co-founder Travis Boersma routinely walks around the Oregon corporate headquarters in flip-flops, a backward trucker’s cap and baggy shorts while uttering lots of sentences with words like “rad” and “dude.” Company employees refer to themselves as being part of the “Dutch Mafia,” and it is well known throughout the workforce that the company only hires optimists.
When one employee was asked whether Dutch Bros. was more of a cult than a company, the employee told the Forbes reporter that “‘cult’ is just ‘culture’ minus three letters.”
It seems that is the type of following the coffee chain has in many locations. The chain has locations both in Topeka and Kansas City, and the question of when Lawrence would get a Dutch Bros. has been a frequent one.
photo by: Shutterstock
In terms of the coffee offerings, it has traditional hot coffee, but iced coffee is a big deal at Dutch Bros., like at many other chains. Sweet coffee drinks also are big. Drinks that often get listed as favorites from Dutch Bros. include the Annihilator, which features strong espresso, half-and-half and chocolate macadamia nut syrup, and the Cocomo, which is espresso, chocolate milk, whipped topping and coconut syrup.
The chain — which is now publicly traded on the New York Stock Exchange, under the ticker BROS, of course — also offers teas, lemonades, shakes, smoothies and sparkling fruit-infused sodas. It has a few food items on its menu, including cookies, muffin tops and granola bars.
No word on an opening date, but new construction of a drive-thru shop likely will take six months to a year.
If you are fan of the aforementioned Seven Brew Drive Thru chain, while it won’t be coming to south Iowa Street, it also has filed plans to locate at Sixth and Folks Road as part of the development that will include a new branch for Capitol Federal Savings. Currently, it appears that plan is still moving forward.
One other brief note from around town, coffee was not the drink of choice at Brothers, a large downtown bar near 11th and Massachusetts streets. You can imagine what was, but now imagine is all you can do. The location announced this summer that it was closing down for summer break, which is kind of unusual. More unusual was that it didn’t immediately reopen once students arrived.
Now, a “for lease” sign has shown up in the window of the space at 1105 Massachusetts St., which is directly across the street from the Douglas County Courthouse. It may be a site to keep an eye on, as it is a larger than average restaurant/bar space in downtown. I also believe it still has a grandfathered exemption to the city’s code that requires any new drinking establishment in downtown to make a significant portion of its sales from food rather than liquor. In other words, the space could be the next spot for a large new downtown bar.