Beauty Shoppe is debuting our first location outside of Pittsburgh: in Cleveland’s Ohio City neighborhood. The coworking space, Beauty Shoppe Seymour Building, will seat 150 members and also has Beauty Shoppe’s very first foray into food & beverage operations: a cafe called Foyer.
Our F&B Director, Wes Shonk, gained his thoughtful, detail-oriented approach to at places like Hidden Harbor, Wigle Whiskey, and Butcher & The Rye. Below, he offers his thoughts on the cafe’s impending opening.
Why open a cafe in a coworking space?
We love coffee and tea. And so do our members. Also, since it will double as a public space, Foyer lets us share what is special about Beauty Shoppe with anyone who wants to pay us a visit. We’re looking forward to welcoming people from the Ohio City neighborhood and serving our delicious drinks and kind customer service. It’s an opportunity to build relationships with locals, just as we do with members in our coworking spaces.
If you think about it, the original coworking spaces were coffee shops — a confluence of people, ideas, and discussion. Having a cafe in our Ohio City location will bring an energy and liveliness to the space that’s important to our mission.
What is special about Foyer? What are you doing differently with the cafe?
It may seem rote to have someone in Food & Beverage say that “hospitality” is important, but we are deliberate in finding staff who are naturally warm and friendly. Simply put, we are going to serve excellent coffee and tea, in a beautiful setting, with warm customer service. And to that end, Foyer is cut from the same cloth as Beauty Shoppe.
Of course, a major part of the experience of a cafe has to do with the quality of the product and thoughtfulness of the menu, so we invested in the selection of our partners. We sought out coffee and tea experts, while incorporating some of the top producers in the Ohio region. For example: Parlor Coffee, based out of Brooklyn, New York, sources some of the best coffee in the world and helped us fine-tune our recipes; the folks at Somage Fine Foods, from Australia, have a unique perspective on tea production (not to mention preparation and presentation).
We also partnered with Ohio’s Snowville Creamery, a business at the forefront of sustainable dairy agriculture for over a decade. Snowville’s milk tastes richer, and makes for the best drinks (it even looks different!). Foyer’s croissants are supplied by Tommy’s Pastries – a hidden gem in Lakewood. And of course, many Clevelanders are familiar with Ohio City Provisions, a stellar grocery and butcher that we’re excited to work with.
Do you have any favorite items on the menu?
There are probably too many to name! But our signature summer drink, Kaffe Tonic, has me pretty well hooked. It’s a fairly straightforward combination of espresso, Fever-Tree tonic, and ice. But it ends up being this bitter and sweet combination that is crisp enough to cut through the sticky summer haze.
I also enjoy our Cold-Brewed Iced Tea. Steeping in a refrigerator overnight reduces bitterness and astringency, while highlighting tea’s aromatics and natural sweetness. It seems simple, but after many test batches brewed in all sorts of ways, I’ve been totally won-over by our recipe of black and green teas. It’s so good.
What was the inspiration behind the name ‘Foyer’?
We worked backwards: we knew how we wanted people to feel when they are in the cafe — comfortable and at ease, like they are at the home of a good friend. Since most Beauty Shoppe members will enter through the cafe, we wanted to ensure that the cafe was a “warm welcome” to their day. If you think about a foyer in a home, it’s where first impressions are formed, where host meets guest, where outside transitions to inside. As the front door (so to speak) of our coworking space, the name Foyer struck a chord.
You have a background in the Pittsburgh F&B scene. What about Beauty Shoppe piqued your interest?
In whatever job I do, I tend to geek out on the products and process — whether it’s whiskey and distillation, tiki culture and rum production, or coffee and tea. This position, of course, has let me take a deep dive into cafe culture. The work is certainly stimulating and challenging, and I’m learning a lot. I also got of join a group of amazing people. The Beauty Shoppe team is filled with smart and interesting people who have diverse skill sets. It’s a great environment.
What about your background and experience in F&B has helped you in this endeavor?
I’ve learned how to “have something to say” in the food and beverage space. The people and businesses that thrive in F&B have a unique position on a subject and pursue that angle. Over the years, I’ve learned that no detail is too small when it comes to executing on a vision: from the location and equipment to the menu, music, and napkins — all these things matter. With Foyer, we didn’t set out to create a cookie-cutter cafe, and I’m confident that our customers will recognize that.
What about the experience of opening a cafe has been Surprising? Rewarding?
Foyer is my first foray into cafe culture, and one of the most surprising aspects of the experience has been my exposure to the depth and breadth of coffee and tea. A lot of people are passionate about what they make, of course, but some of the experts I’ve met are dedicated to their trade in ways I hadn’t seen before. These people are not just purveyors: they help you realize just how romantic it is to produce, buy, and sell something that is both simple and nuanced. It’s joyful.
The rewarding part has been developing relationships with great people at every stage of this process, from the F&B experts we’ve met, to the team members we’ve hired. Kyle Webb, Foyer’s cafe manager, is amazing: he understands the vision for the cafe and is going to make it come to life.
I want Beauty Shoppe members to love and feel proud of this cafe, not only as a nice place where they can bring their clients, but somewhere they feel known and valued. But more than that, I want the Ohio City neighborhood to feel embraced by us; to be welcomed and supported as a part of our community.