After more than 15 years, downtown coffee shop on the move, expanding breakfast menu

photo by: Photo courtesy Z's Divine Espresso

A new kitchen will allow for a larger breakfast menu at the new downtown location for Z's Divine Espresso.

My bladder often hurts just thinking about East Ninth Street. There are three big-time coffee retailers in the one-block stretch just east of Massachusetts Street. One, however, has struck a deal to move to Massachusetts Street.

Z’s Divine Espresso has closed its location at 10 E. Ninth St. and soon will reopen just around the corner at 914 Massachusetts St. That’s the building just south of the US Bank Tower. The spot previously housed a cupcake shop.

Z’s Divine Espresso was next to The Bourgeois Pig and Milton’s Cafe, which both sell a lot of coffee. But it wasn’t competition that caused Z’s to make the move from the Ninth Street spot, which it had occupied for more than 15 years. It was visibility, and, perhaps surprisingly, food.

“The number one reason it will be a better space for us is it has a kitchen,” said owner Sherry Bowden. “It will allow us to do made-to-order breakfast sandwiches.”

Z’s other locations on 31st Street and East 23rd Street both have kitchens that allow for a variety of menu items. The downtown location, though, has largely been confined to pre-made sandwiches sold out of the store’s cooler.

Look for the menu to feature a variety of hot breakfast sandwiches such as egg and cheese with bacon, turkey, ham or other combinations on either a fresh-baked croissant or biscuit.

“Our croissant sandwiches are our most popular at the other stores,” Bowden said.

The menu will continue to have baked goods like cinnamon rolls, muffins, scones and cookies, but many of those items now will be baked on site.

Some of Z’s other locations serve a lunch menu that features panini sandwiches. Bowden said the downtown shop doesn’t plan to serve lunch right away but hopes to consider an expanded menu in the future. Another set of plans call for a sidewalk dining area.

photo by: Journal-World photo/Chad Lawhorn

Z’s Divine Espresso plans to move into the building at 914 Massachusetts Street in September 2018.

Right now, Bowden said she’s interested in seeing how foot traffic to her business changes. The Ninth Street location didn’t attract many downtown shoppers who made an impulse decision to get a cup of coffee or a treat. She thinks that will change with the new Massachusetts Street location.

“We are amazed at how many people stop to look in the window while it is still an empty store,” Bowden said.

The shop definitely won’t be alone, though. As we reported, Alchemy recently opened on Massachusetts Street, and there are all the longtime Massachusetts shops including La Prima Tazza, Starbucks, Aimee’s and others. Massachusetts Street is making its bid to become the most caffeinated street in the city. (No, I didn’t honk for hemp. I’m trying to get my coffee fix!)

“I’m well aware there is plenty of competition,” Bowden said. “But I’m not out to beat anybody. I just want us to do the best that we can do for our customers.”

Bowden hopes to have the new location open soon, perhaps as quickly as Friday, she said.


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