Though it's been open since July 4, Neckar Coffee
's brick-and-mortar location in downtown Boise still feels like something of a secret. The entrance on 10th Street between Main and Grove streets is unmarked (signage should arrive in the next few weeks), the road is closed down and fencing for the construction project next door crisscrosses the sidewalk. Yet despite those literal roadblocks, the line of customers on opening day spilled out into the street.
Neckar currently offers two pour over options: El Salvador, and Costa Rica.
"It was packed," said Neckar owner Grant Shealy. "I had no expectations, but I was pleasantly surprised to see that we had a line out the door ... It was very cool to see Boise show up like that. It means we've got to get our act together and make sure we're providing, because people want it."
Word about the opening went out by word-of-mouth and on social media, pulling in the fanbase that the coffee company has amassed over five years of slinging artisan joe—including pour overs, lattes, cortados and more made from beans sourced by the Oakland, California-based company Coffee Shrub
—from its mobile station at the Boise Farmers Market
. Shealy called the market Neckar's "bread and butter," and said he hopes to continue to have a presence there, even with the new and long-sought storefront.
"We started with the intent of being in a brick and mortar, [but] we didn't want to do it before we were ready," he said.
Courtesy Neckar Coffee
Neckar picks up its pastries from Janjou Patisserie daily, and offers a small selection until they're gone.
Stepping inside the softly lit coffee shop, it seems clear the spot was worth the wait. Everything from the decor (sleek and modern) to the cupware (handmade by Guten Co.
in San Antonio, Texas) to the pastries (baked fresh daily at local hotspot Janjou Patisserie
) speaks to Shealy's long-held vision for the space.
The pastries are, as Shealy put it, "a big deal"—Neckar is the only spot in town besides Janjou itself to offer croissants, muffins and other artisan treats made by local James Beard-nominated
baker Moshit Mizrachi-Gabbitas. Shealy said he considers himself lucky to be "somebody [Mizrachi-Gabbitas] trusts to show her product the way she intends it to be shown," and lovingly displays the day's offerings on a wooden cutting board, like jewelry in a velvet-lined box. Neckar also offers affogatos and a yogurt bowl topped with housemade granola, strawberry balsamic compote and fig brittle. In the near future, donuts fried on-site will also make an appearance on the menu.
Although the prices are higher and the waits longer than at chains like Starbucks or Dutch Bros., Neckar's high-end menu and petite cup sizes ride the same "third wave" of coffee already familiar to Boiseans who frequent downtown spots like Slow by Slow
and Form & Function
Courtesy Neckar Coffee
Neckar owner Grant Shealy described his shop's yogurt bowl as "jazzed up" with housemade ingredients.
"We feel like people should be paying a premium for coffee, if not because it tastes better then for the reason that the people who are doing most of the hard work are being paid a little bit more for what they do," said Shealy, adding that the beans he gets from Coffee Shrub are purchased at 50 to 100 percent above fair trade minimums.
Neckar is open 7 a.m.-5 p.m. Mondays-Saturdays, and 8 a.m.-3 p.m. Sundays, although Shealy said the shop will be closed for a long weekend from Thursday, July 12-Monday, July 16 so that he and his fiance can tie the knot. Normal hours will resume Tuesday, July 17.