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Downtown's quirkiest coffeehouse: Introducing Café Luz

Downtown's quirkiest coffeehouse: Introducing Café Luz

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Cafe Luz Photo by Sarah Rufca

Considering the caffeinated wealth of the Heights and Montrose, downtown is strangely lacking in cute cafés.

That's something Café Luz is aiming to change. Luz is a microshop tucked into the Kitchen Incubator storefront on Franklin Street, about a block from Market Square Park.

While chefs rent out the industrial kitchens in back for catering and retail projects, the front area is marked with a couple of tables and couches, exposed brick walls, chalkboard menus behind the counter that are held up by bicycle chains, and an industrial light fixture made of copper pipes created by co-owner (and engineer) Jesus Acosta.

Barista and co-owner Frank Freeman last set up the coffee program at Revival Market, in addition to stints at Greenway Coffee and Catalina Coffeehouse, and is sourcing local, seasonal roasts from downtown's Amaya Roasting. Luz also offers something you can't find too often around town — a vintage soda fountain with flavor selections like a rich, well-balanced chocolate phosphate soda and a refreshing mint lime soda.

There's a crowded display of pastries and desserts, plus savory items like ravioli and empanadas for sale made by Kitchen Incubator chefs and co-owner Lucrece Borrego. The goat cheese ravioli (revived via microwave) was pretty average, but the thick, flaky empanadas — particularly the beef version — were a delicious surprise. For dessert, I'd skip the overly thick and sugary macarons for a slice of pie. On my visit it was cherry, made with fresh fruit and exploding with flavor.

When it comes to charm, Café Luz can't compete with Revival Market or Down House, but it's still a fun idea that will please downtowners.