The next few months will be a busy time for Bobby Heugel and Justin Yu. Not only are they planning to open their Heights restaurant Squable next month, but the duo behind Better Luck Tomorrow have also revealed their plans for a new cafe and bar that's coming to the former Etro space next to Anvil.
When it opens in June, Penny Quarter will feature coffee in the morning, alcoholic beverages (primarily wine) at night, and food by Yu.
According to Heugel, Penny Quarter aims to be the next evolution in a long line of Montrose cafes that become neighborhood staples, like Brasil and Black Hole. "We hope Penny Quarter will be the next evolution in a neighborhood that is constantly changing, but remains always dedicated to creative, open-minded social spaces," he added in a statement.
To bring the project to life, Yu and Heugel are turning to familiar names from the other concepts. Alex Negranza, who currently handles operations for Heugel's downtown bars, will oversee coffee. Justin Vann, already the wine director for BLT and a co-owner of Public Services, will curate a wine list of approximately 100 selections. Tommy Ho, Anvil's current general manager, will add Penny Quarter to his responsibilities. They, along with Squable general manger Terry Williams, will join Yu, Heugel, and investor Steve Flippo as partners in the business.
Prior to becoming an acclaimed bartender, Negranza worked as a barista in Seattle. He'll draw upon those relationships for Penny Quarter's coffee offerings, which will utilize beans from both local and national roasters. With Anvil providing patrons plenty of options for cocktails, the cafe will focus on wine, although beer and spirits will be available, too. Vann describes the selections as a balance between "old-school classics [and] the bleeding edge of natural wine making."
In the morning, Yu's menu will be centered around toasts and other entrees that can be on-site or taken to-go. At night, the menu will mix small plates and salads with a few heartier items such as a crispy cheese grilled cheese and the chef's take on a classic chicken and rice. As at both Theodore Rex and Better Luck Tomorrow, dishes will utilize ingredients sourced from local farms.
"For as much of a relaxed, jokey person as I am, cooking at Oxheart and Theodore Rex kind of makes people take me too seriously," Yu said. "I miss offering food that can be a part of everyone's morning, noon, or night. Certainly, the ingredients will be sourced with thought, and the food will be made with genuine care, but it’ll be nice to work in a setting where what matters most is that it tastes great, and it fits into your day.”
As Heugel notes, Montrose has been home to various iterations of these all-day cafes for the last 25 years or so. As both the owner of Anvil and a founding partner of Hay Merchant, Underbelly, and Blacksmith, Heugel has a good sense of what does and doesn't work in Montrose. With a talented crew and a compelling range of offerings, Penny Quarter seems poised to be an exciting addition to his roster of businesses.