Coogs Coffee

University of Houston finally gets a gourmet coffee shop — late night hours, special wine list on tap

University of Houston finally gets a gourmet coffee shop, late hours

Nook Cafe Houston
The Nook Cafe logo. The Nook Cafe Facebook Page

Standing in a long Starbucks line at the C.T. Bauer College of Business at the University of Houston two years ago, MBA student Derek Shaw knew there had to be a better way to get coffee.

Now, he has done something about it.

Next month, Shaw plans to open new coffee shop, The Nook Cafe, near the UH campus with a lot of exciting new features. This coffee shop will have extended hours, better Wi-Fi, a Cougar Blend roast and an app to order in advance.

"I really want this place to be for the students. I am open to new ideas and I will always try to accommodate whatever comes my way," Shaw tells CultureMap.

 Shaw bought the remaining square footage in what he calls a “spur of the moment move.” 

His idea for a coffee shop actually stretches all the way back to 2001, when he was a University of Houston sophomore and he saw a "Coming Soon" sign on a plot of land directly across from the Calhoun Lofts and next door to the popular Chinese Star restaurant. He jotted down the phone number and eight years later during his graduate studies, dug it up and called to see what was going on with the land.

The seller told him that he only leased 4,000 square feet of the small strip center and needed an additional 2,000 square-feet in order to begin building. Shaw bought the remaining square footage in what he calls a “spur of the moment move.”

Shaw, who graduated with a double major in finance and marketing in 2003 and an MBA in finance and management in 2011, is partnering with Sam Wijnberg, a childhood friend of more than 15 years, on the project at 4701 Calhoun Street. They plan to have extended hours at The Nook — from 7 a.m. to midnight Mondays through Fridays, 7 to 1 a.m. on Saturdays, and 8 a.m. to midnight on Sundays— so students can hang out and study.

And they plan to serve a Cougar Blend coffee, specially roasted by UH alum and Katz Coffee owner Avi Katz. A variety of croissants from the French Riviera Bakery and cakes from Take the Cake will be sold, along with fresh squeezed juices with fruit purchased from local farmers markets.

The duo will partner with UH alum Ian Rosenberg of 13 Celsius to compile a special wine list. And craft beer from Saint Arnold will be available.

Shaw says he plans to keep prices within a student budget, display student artwork on the walls and hold open mic and poetry nights.

A smart phone application, The Nook, is planned for Android and iPhone users. Students and faculty can order a non-alcoholic beverage in advance and it will be waiting when they arrive.