For coffee drinking office workers in downtown Houston, cravings for lattes and cold brew will mostly be satisfied by one of the Starbucks scattered throughout the Tunnels. Other than the Honeymoon (too far north) and Tout Suite (too far east), the trend that's seen more people choosing to patronize locally-owned cafes that serve premium coffee hasn't cracked the central business district — until now.
David Buehrer and Ecky Prabanto, the owners of popular coffee shops Blacksmith and Morningstar, officially opened Prelude Coffee & Tea Tuesday morning. Located in the new, 48-story office tower at 609 Main, Prelude brings Buehrer and Prabanto's locally-roasted Greenway Coffee to downtown, as well as a tidy food menu.
Occupying the corner of Main and Capitol, Prelude's floor-to-ceiling windows help integrate it into the street life that passes by. Matching the lobby's clean, modern look, the cafe features a long bar with lots of seating as well as some high-top tables, but, with lots of busy people on the floors above, the focus is squarely on grab-and-go.
By using the Morningstar kitchen as a commissary, Prelude is able to offer doughnuts, breakfast tacos, and kolaches. Blacksmith's signature biscuits are available, as well as a new breakfast sandwich developed by Morningstar partner Carlos Ballon that's made with 44 Farms sausage and served on a baked brioche bun.
All the espresso-based coffee drinks — served from a bright red espresso machine — are present and accounted for; Morningstar's slate of dairy-free matcha drinks are available, too.
Buehrer and Prabanto got their start in Greenway Plaza, where Greenway Coffee & Tea emerged as a restaurant industry go-to that became the basis of their growth. In a sense, Prelude brings them back to those roots in a space that applies the lessons learned over the last four-and-a-half years.
Prelude isn't the only new project from the dynamic duo. Later this year, they'll open Coral Sword, a gaming-oriented cafe in partnership with San Francisco Giants outfield Hunter Pence and actor Ming Chen (AMC's Comic Book Men).