Downtown workers and residents have a new option for breakfast, lunch, and dinner courtesy of a coffee shop veteran and a self-described "serial entrepreneur."
Located on the first floor of Market Square Tower — that's the one with the pool on the 42nd story — Coterie united Southside Espresso owner Sean Marshall with Charles "Chaz" Lusk, a healthcare executive who brings experience from the world of startups to the cafe's operations. Although small, Coterie offers a lot that should appeal to more people than just those fortunate enough to live above it.
That starts with the design. Lusk and Marshall worked with Italian design firm Costa Group, also responsible for Eataly in New York, to create a space that's stylish and modern looking. The design takes advantage of the room's 25-foot ceilings with a walk-in wine tower that showcases an extensive selection of vintages. Diners may opt to sit at the long bar or at the few tables.
“The visual features of [Coterie] were designed to serve as both a morning respite and evening retreat,” Lusk said in a statement. “With our unique décor, we can purposefully change the energy of Coterie with our lighting and music to match the way downtown Houston changes its ambiance preferences as the day and week progresses.”
Like the design, the menu offers lots of options. At breakfast, diners can opt for grab-and-go pastries (scone, cinnamon roll, two kinds of kolaches, etc.) or a heartier entree like a riff on eggs Benedict that features chive biscuits and crispy pancetta matched up with the same locally roasted Fusion Beans coffee that power Southside. At lunch and dinner, the options include a burger, a couple of pizzas, and a cacio e pepe pasta that Marshall tells CultureMap has emerged as an early favorite.
The kitchen is led by chef Chris Wesley, who comes to Coterie after working at places like the Eatsie Boys and Oxheart. Although the menu is limited for now, it will grow over time.
Whatever dish patrons choose for their meals may be paired with any number of beverage options. In addition to coffee, Coterie features an extensive wine list — both Lusk and Marshall are studying different training programs — as well as a full range of cocktails. Michelle Dinh, most recently of Dish Society, will serve as bar manager.
With the transformation earlier this year of The Honeymoon into Boomtown Coffee Main Street, the area around Market Square already had one solid coffee option. Just as Southside Espresso has found a niche in Montrose's crowded array of coffee shops, expect Coterie's modern decor and Italian-inspired menu to help it find a place in diners' routines.