David Buehrer — the barista turned entrepreneur behind some of Houston's best coffee shops (Blacksmith, Greenway Coffee & Tea, and Morningstar) — will have a busy 2017. He and business partner Ecky Prabanto, who are already working to open Prelude Coffee & Tea in Hines' stunning new office tower at 609 Main, have also implemented plans that will unite Buehrer's love of both coffee and gaming under one roof.
Best of all, the couple are bringing a couple bona fide celebrities along: San Francisco Giants outfielder Hunter Pence and actor Ming Chen (AMC's Comic Book Men). Pence's wife Alexis and barista Sanford Bledsoe III are also partners in the coffee shop and cafe, which will be called Coral Sword, after a weapon figures prominently in the Final Fantasy videogame series. In addition to coffee and tea, Coral Sword will serve treats from Morningstar and a few savory food items as well.
While the partnership may seem unlikely, Buehrer and Prabanto struck up a friendship with the Pences a couple years ago after the duo posted a review of Blacksmith to Youtube. Pence, a former Astro whose famous "#yesmovement" motivational speech helped propel the Giants to a World Series victory in 2014, found that he enjoyed learning more about coffee, even trying roasting. Here's Pence talking about game at Morningstar.
Jan 4, 2017 at 12:39pm PST
Located in the same Eastside building at 1318 Telephone Road that houses East End Barber and comic book and record shop Wired Up - Modern Conveniences, Coral Sword will cater to gamers in a number of ways. First of all, by providing a place where people can go to play indie board games or card games like Buehrer's beloved Magic: The Gathering. Second, by providing a forum for game developers to introduce their products to consumers. It will even have an onsite podcast booth (expect an episode of CultureMap's "What's Eric Eating" to be recorded there) to host both podcasts and streamed game playing sessions on Twitch.
"Coffee and gaming are two of my favorite off the field activities," said Pence in a statement. "I'm most excited about creating a space that combines the two. Incorporating new media into the coffee shop is an exciting way for me to bring a piece of San Francisco to Houston that keeps me feeling connected."
Work has already begun to transform the space, which will also contain "a membership driven co-gaming space for more in depth gaming that can be rented out for events, workshops, and tournaments." If all goes according to plan, it will open in September.
With Prelude set to open in August, Buehrer and Prabanto have set themselves up for a busy summer, but, given the pace they've been on for the last couple of years, that seems to be how they like things.