Coffee, Food, & Love with Paper Co. Cafe
by Freddy Castillo – October 2017
Ever have that feeling when your friends post pictures of hidden gems in town that you never knew existed and you quickly reply with…“What the french toast, where is this place?” Well that usually happens to many as they drive by Houston’s 1st Ward area where there is a bit of Houston’s past, present, and future. From the trendy remodeled Spring Street Art Studios and the Historic Winter Street Studios to Holler and Platypus breweries, and also the historic victorian style neighborhoods, old brick warehouses being redeveloped, and trendy must experience restaurants. One of those hidden gems is Paper Co. Cafe, located inside the Ecclesia building a few blocks off the corner of Washington Ave and Houston Ave.
As soon as you walk up to Paper Co you have two options of entry, a stand alone blue door that feels apart of the matrix movie, (blue pill or red pill scene, yes, showing my age, lol) or huge beautiful glass bay doors that were once shipping docks. Walking in, you smell fresh roasted coffee beans, fresh baked goods, and simply the smell of breakfast while having the best decompression space (for my marketing pros) as Paper Co is probably the most spread out cafe you’ll encounter within the Houston 610 loop. You can feel the texture of the old large brick walls, steel overhead beams, smooth concrete coated floors and quickly become impressed by their large and long tables that leave you with that Hogwarts feeling. There is also an abundance of natural light with very high ceilings, creating your one and only dilemma of “Where should I sit?” Once you have comfortably settled in, you begin to look around and notice something particular…a homeless or less-fortunate individual sharing a table with you.
Most times they are full of life, eager to chit-chat with you over the weather and sometimes they seem to be lost in deep and emotional thought which you come to respect and understand. Whichever the case, they are enjoying a gourmet “common meal”, one of many food items on the menu, but this meal is specifically catered for them. Today’s common meal is “Crusted Fish with Quinoa”. Paper Co has an incredible kitchen that not only provides fresh gourmet meals from morning to night that consist of ingredients locally and abroad, but each day offer a healthy meal on a sliding scale. They simply ask that you pay the suggested price (less or more) so that one of our homeless neighbors can have a good meal and no one goes hungry.
Lets not forget that savory locally brewed morning cup of coffee has become a sacred necessity in our society from being the kick starter or badly needed motivation of an inspiring morning process. Paper Co not only understands that, but also empathized by partnering with a family owned coffee company, Mueva Coffee Co., that through generations has curated fresh beans from Nicaragua and around the globe, locally.
Although Paper Co is a hidden gem, a diverse crowd from all walks of life is always present, ranging from our beloved first responders to downtown professionals, college students, WiFi professionals and or a homeless neighbor seeking a hot meal. Ordering a hazelnut latte along with their always freshly baked peanut butter cookies, you’ll find me sitting near those large gorgeous bay doors peacefully lost in my own thoughts.
Paper Co Cafe is “…more than just food and drinks – as all profits go towards providing for the Houston homeless community”. I invite you to join their movement and share a table, space, energy, great coffee, and beautiful mornings that can lead to spectacular days.
For more information, (www.papercohouston.com) and IG (@papercohouston)