Medical-themed coffee shop opens near the hospital

Rx Coffee to offer deli menu, specialty coffees, French press methods

Posted: Monday, November 02, 2009

A new coffee bar and deli behind the Juneau Bone and Joint Center opens today, but don't be confused if the baristas look like nurses.

Brian Wallace / Juneau Empire
Brian Wallace / Juneau Empire

Dressed in scrubs, baristas at Rx Coffee - located at 3200 Hospital Drive, Suite 103 - will follow suit in the area's medical theme, fashioned by partners Tim DeHart, his wife Kathy Budke, and John and Jamie Bursell.

"This is a medical area, and we just kind of wanted to go with that," DeHart said. "Not to mention, coffee can be kind of a stimulant of some sort."

The shop, which offers specialty coffees and a range of breakfast and lunch items, will have free WiFi and a venue for local artists to display their artwork.

"It's just a nice place to kind of get away, get a good sandwich and great, great coffee," DeHart said.

Specialty coffees will include several from Washington: Caffé D'arte, out of Seattle, and Batdorf & Bronson and Big Truck, both out of Olympia. According to DeHart, Mauro Cipolla, founder of Caffé D'arte, trained in Italy for 10 years and started roasting in 1986 in Seattle.

"They're pretty much what you'd find if you went to Italy," DeHart said of the Seattle coffee. "They're deep, rich coffees, and they have great, distinct flavors. They're all-natural, and the caffeine content is a little higher."

DeHart also imagines Rx will carry another Southeast brand, Raven's Brew Coffee, out of Ketchikan.

"I felt they were the top of the line for what they had for flavor," DeHart said of his coffee choices. "I wanted to bring a variety to town. I mean, we have Heritage, and they're a great company that puts out a great product, but I wanted to be different."

After deciding to build the coffee shop in January, DeHart spent the summer sampling hundreds of coffees at Bellissimo Coffee InfoGroup's coffee school in Portland, Ore.

"They teach you how to appreciate the coffee more," he said. "I just want to bring that to Juneau. That's why we want to do the siphon brewing and French press. If people spend a little bit more time in their day to enjoy a good French press on a great coffee, it's just wonderful."

In addition to French press and espresso coffees, Rx will practice a Japanese method called siphon brewing, which to DeHart's knowledge, isn't done anywhere else in town.

"Basically, it's a cleaner way of brewing coffee," DeHart said. "I thought it'd be something neat to bring to Juneau."

DeHart and his team also gave a lot of thought to the shop's design. They chose energy efficient equipment and lighting, eco-friendly cups and recycled material in the construction.

"We went the extra mile and really spared no expense to get it this way," DeHart said, "because I think everything is evolving in this direction, and we didn't want to have to play catch-up down the road. ... And now our footprint is far less than a normal operation would be."

As for the menu, made by New Jersey native Anita Williams, it will include a variety of scrambled eggs, panini, wraps, subs, cold sandwiches and salads, as well as baked goods from Abby's Kitchen.

"The nice thing is this is made fresh daily," DeHart said of the menu. "The ingredients are cut fresh in the morning. That makes a big difference."

The Dilatant Truffles are pretty good too, DeHart said.

"There's not enough I can say about how jazzed I am about this," he added. "I think people need to explore and find out for themselves."

Rx Coffee is open 5 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturdays. Orders can be called in at 523-9080.

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