District coffee roasters Vigilante Coffee and Qualia will soon be in good company: Baltimore's Zeke's Coffee is set to open this weekend at 2300 Rhode Island Ave. NE in a storefront where it will sell beans fresh out of the roaster.
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Zeke's will serve cups of coffee and pour-overs from any of the 25-plus varieties on its shelves. The menu is lo-fi (sorry, no espresso machines here yet) and prices are too: $1.50 for a 12-ounce cup and $2.50 for a 16-ounce cup. The storefront, which will have some seating for customers, opens Saturday with A public event from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Zeke's is all about the roast, explains John Kepner, whose family members run the roaster's locations in Baltimore and Pittsburgh, each as independent operators. He sees the 1,400-square-foot space, he says, "like D.C. Brau. We're a production facility, but you can come in and have a tasting." You'll also be able to get a whiff of the roasting process, which will take place in the back with a 12-pound roaster.
A staple at farmers markets, Zeke's was doing enough business in the area that the drive down Interstate 95 was becoming a drag. Kepner, the D.C. shop's owner, says it was the local business development group, Friends of Rhode Island Avenue NE, that convinced him to open in the area a few miles east of Bloomingdale, in a neighborhood known as Woodridge.
After the opening Saturday, November hours will be Wednesday-Friday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. and weekends from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. See more photos below: