After a hugely successful Kickstarter campaign this past winter, Atlanta-based roastery Portrait Coffee announced the opening of its first permanent location in the West End. The new coffee shop, which should open this fall, takes up residence at the Lottie Watkins Building on Ralph David Abernathy Boulevard, one block north of the historic Wrens Nest House Museum.
Portrait was founded by six Southwest Atlanta residents and coffee professionals in order to “change the picture” and the narrative surrounding coffee in Atlanta. As a Black-owned coffee company, founders John Onwuchekwa, Marcus Hollinger, Khalid Smith, Shawndra Onwuchekwa, Aaron Fender, and Erin Fender want to bring better and more diverse representation to Atlanta’s specialty coffee scene. The new West End coffee shop furthers that mission.
“We’re excited to finally be able to set a permanent footprint in our community of West End,” co-founder Aaron Fender tells Eater Atlanta. “From our early days of brainstorming Portrait, our team has been energized by the thought of being able to have a positive impact in the community. Our team is deeply invested in seeing the Historic West End continue to flourish.”
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Our first official cafe location will be opening Fall 2020 at 1065-A Ralph David Abernathy Blvd SW. With this small seed, planted in our Neighborhood, we look forward to growing with our community to see more potential in the West End and beyond. Thank you for supporting us. It is with many hands that we’ve been able to till this soil. Here’s to another step in pouring a new narrative. : @createdxgavin
Fender says they signed the lease on the West End space two weeks prior to the COVID-19 health crisis shutting down the city. He and his partners used the unexpected delay to their advantage, figuring out how to eventually open the coffee shop and serve people safely as the pandemic continues into the fall.
Once open, the cafe will seat up to 35 people inside and serve a variety of coffee and tea drinks, feature a rotating list of coffees from Portrait’s current lineup, and offer a selection of simple breakfast and lunch fare. For those who have attended Portrait’s popups at coffee shops like Full Commission in Grant Park and Chrome Yellow in Old Fourth Ward, Fender says they can expect to find the popular brown sugar and cardamom latte “Aunt Viv” on the opening day menu.
“Portrait represents a desire to reimagine the picture that comes to mind when most people think of specialty coffee. Coffee was first discovered by Africans over 1,000 years ago. These trailblazers couldn’t have foreseen the global impact of their discovery,” Fender says. “On the other hand, they likely never imagined their faces would be forgotten, even though the pigment of the drink reflected their own. We hope to paint a more accurate history. A history that includes those who have been photoshopped out.”
People interested in purchasing beans and merchandise from Portrait Coffee can do so online. The current coffee lineup includes five blends, ranging from light to dark roast. Coffee beans come in 12-ounce, two-pound, or five-pound bags, and cost between $14 and $18. Beans are also available for purchase at a few neighborhood markets and coffee shops around Atlanta, including Westview Corner Grocery and Spiller Park in the Toco Hill shopping complex.
1065-A Ralph David Abernathy Boulevard SW, Atlanta. portrait.coffee.