After months of anticipation, Black Hole Café opened its doors on Wednesday morning at a planned 6:30 a.m. The location at the corner of Graustark Street and Castle Court, once a convenience store, represents the latest installment in the Antidote-Poison Girl indie empire.
The coffee shop follows the Antidote formula with its selection of delish lattes and ransacked Atomic Age décor, but Montrosians will notice a few fresh perks, most notably a triptych of Warholian Lindsay Lohan prints. Unlike Antidote, BHC has a full kitchen, meaning warm breakfasts and hearty meals throughout the day round out the typical baked goods menu. Heights residents need not go hungry though: In the months ahead, Black Hole will dispatch a caravan full of square meals to Antidote.
Café employees reported brisk business Wednesday morning as hipsters disembarked from their Vespas and filed into the shop, passing early morning chain smokers and disoriented customers from the attached laundromat.
"The neighborhood response has been really great," manager Jon Calhoun told CultureMap. "I didn't know there was such a need here, but between the interesting mix of neighborhood people and good amount of foot traffic, we've been busy."
The hand-scrawled chalkboard menu features favored caffeinated classics like The Antidote (coffee with a shot of espresso) and Cajeta Latte (Mexican goat's milk-based caramel stirred into coffee). You'll also find a generous selection of wines and Texas craft microbrews. On this particular morning, we tasted the gargantuan almond croissant and spinach quiche. The former was decent, and while the latter had a filling more akin to spinach dip than an egg-based recipe, there were few complaints.
Time will tell how customers react to the full-fledged sandwich and salad menu, but the cuisine isn't the draw at Black Hole — it's the unabashedly hip vibe. This spirt shines through in such details as a self-irrigating hanging wall garden and bathroom floors embedded with carefully arranged pennies. Unframed canvases by Hunting Art Prize winner Matt Messinger and a kitchen full of Houston-based vendors also add to the locavore charm.
The opening of the Hole represents a vague renaissance on the southern bank of Montrose, unique for innuendo-ridden business names. There's Jackson's Hole, Black Hole . . . and if you go down south enough, you'll get a Grand Prize. Gentrification paranoia aside, it's an improvement from Ernie's.