Back in April of last year, at the height of Deep Ellum’s restaurant renaissance, we learned that a combination bar-coffee shop would be coming to the rapidly gentrifying neighborhood. The concept, originally called Lead Belly Coffee, would bring lattes and cocktails to a space formerly occupied by a head shop, has since been renamed Drugstore Cowboy and will open its doors last week.
The name change came when the owners of Drugstore Cowboy couldn’t come to an agreement on use of the name with the Lead Belly Foundation. More than that, co-owner Emma Saperstein says that the original name didn’t exactly exemplify what the concept will offer. "Lead Belly Coffee was an awesome name, but it limited us to coffee," she says. "We really are a coffee shop, and definitely a bar. We want to do both of those things really well." Thus Drugstore Cowboy, a name inspired by 1920s Deep Ellum slang, was born.
As far as the coffee is concerned, Drugstore Cowboy will source from Dallas’ own Cultivar Coffee. "They’re fantastic guys who make fantastic coffee with fantastic ethical practices," says Saperstein. The non-alcoholic beverage menu will offer standard coffee-house options, like Americanos and Cortados, fancified with housemade syrups.
In keeping with the name, Drugstore Cowboy’s cocktail program will focus on "curative and restorative" cocktails, like the classic Corpse Reviver. A mezcal cocktail called The Enlightener will feature agave and freshly-squeezed citrus. Like everything else on the menu, the cocktail program will be a collaborative process between Drugstore Cowboy and locals in Deep Ellum, who will be able to offer up their suggestions for future offerings.
Most interestingly, though, Drugstore Cowboy will offer what it calls "cheese shots," or slices of cheese paired with a complementing whiskey. The concept is inspired by Saperstein’s experience working with a small cheese company, and feature cheeses from small creameries across Wisconsin that will be used across the menu and available for purchase at Drugstore Cowboy.
The food is still in the works, but co-owners Toby Wright and Matthew Madison have enlisted their Aunt Rebecca, a Portland chef, to develop the menu. At present, cheese, charcuterie, and other snacks are on offer, but a larger food menu will debut later in January.
Drugstore Cowboy is hosting a series of opening events this week, including a State Of The Union watch party tonight and "Bowie Night" on Thursday. The coffee shop-bar hybrid will officially open its doors on Saturday, January 16 for a grand opening.