Cool beans

Big-name coffee shop perks up downtown's hot Seaholm District

Big-name coffee shop perks up downtown's hot Seaholm District

Merit Coffee ATX
Merit Coffee will be pouring coffee from their new Seaholm District location in December. Merit Coffee

Residents of downtown’s Seaholm District have a reason to perk up this morning. San Antonio favorite Local Coffee is opening three cafes in Austin, with the first set to debut later this month just steps away from the new Central Library.

Although the plans were first announced in early fall, founder Robby Grubbs and partner and CFO Bill Ellis announced December 7 that they will be rebranding in Austin as Merit Coffee to align with their small-batch coffee facility, Merit Roasting Co. San Antonio’s six Local locations will continue to do business under that name for now, although eventually all shops will operate under the Merit banner.

"We aim to be as authentic as possible, and 'local' just isn't authentic outside of San Antonio, so Merit was the obvious choice for our brand name moving forward," Grubbs said in a release.

Construction is currently wrapping up at the 1,178-square-foot shop at 222 West Ave, Ste. 120, with two more locations set to caffeinate Austinites at a future date. Each shop will offer specialty drinks, varieties, and blends from the roasting business, and a selection of grab-and-go snacks from both Austin and San Antonio purveyors, including pastries from cult macaron maker Bakery Lorraine, doughnuts from Maybelle’s, juices from Juice Society, and breakfast tacos from Tacodeli.

While the announcement marks a major investment in Austin, don’t expect Merit to go the way of Starbucks.

"We're not looking to blanket the city, but to secure the very best real estate for Merit Coffee — from Main to Main," said Ellis. "The additional two cafes slated for Austin are similar to the Seaholm location in that they also have dynamic daytime foot traffic and reflect the vibrant culture of the market."