As Dallas' Coffee Scene Grows, Full City Rooster Goes All In With a New Cafe

Full City Rooster has been roasting coffee beans in the Cedars neighborhood for the past three years, opening for very limited hours and hosting food pop-ups on weekends. But now you can get more than a pound of beans from owners Michael and Chris Wyatt.

The warehouse-turned-coffee-roasting studio on Akard Street is offering seating in a cafe and patio, a performance area and an expanded menu with a few more drinks and baked goods. The space is 2,500 square feet.

The business centered solely around Michael's passion: roasting coffee beans. "We opened a location originally to roast. We did that for about a year," he says. "Then we were open by appointment only, then two days a week, five days a week."

Now, Full City is open 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Saturday. “Demand,” Michael says. “I don’t like to say no."
The Wyatts, East Dallas residents, chose the Cedars for their location because Michael fell in love with the area years ago. “I used to come to the neighborhood to borrow a friend’s (welding) studio,” says Michael. “I’ve always loved the diversity of this neighborhood; it’s rich with art and culture.”

Walking in on a weekday afternoon, the front area is full. The communal table outside the open garage door is taken, the table beyond that is filling up and there’s a line for people grabbing coffee. These aren't normal $2.50 cups. Sourced with attention to origin and process, roasted in-house and brewed for four minutes with the pour-over method, this cup (only offered in one 8-ounce size) costs a little more than $4 after tax.

“What’s different about our coffee is it starts with the coffee that we select; it’s the steps we take to make sure the coffees have the right roast,” Michael says.

Only the best will be served in the shop or bagged for distribution, he says. The distribution goes as far as Australia, but for the locals, Chris makes personal deliveries.

She takes over the register frequently when she’s not handling the administrative side of the business. “I’m an artist, and through our lifetime together, it’s been complete support from him. When it was a possibility to open this, I said sure, I’ll do that,” Chris says. “It takes both of us. It’s way over full-time. And I’m loving it.”

The expansion has some more work to go. A wall is going to be taken down and the back space — a huge room that reminds you of the space's origin as a warehouse — still needs to be completed. “It’s not even finished yet, but people love to hang here,” Michael says.

The roasting process is “almost like meditating” for him, he says. When the shop was dedicated to roasting, he would spend the mornings at the machine. Now the shop closes at 4, he spends time with his 14-year-old daughter, then goes back to roast in the late afternoon.

“Freshness is key to get that perfect balance,” Michael says, noting he doesn't sell anything that’s not at its peak. If coffee gets past a date or the final product doesn't measure up to his standards, he donates the beans to the Stewpot.

“I had about a 30-day learning curve [with the roaster]," he says. "There’s an on-board automation system, but I won't use it; I don’t even want to learn. Each batch is different. There are so many different variables,” he says, noting the effects humidity has on the beans. “I love roasting. I’m always learning, and it allows me to get better. And I love having the effect of making a product that others can enjoy.”

Full City Rooster, 1810 S. Akard St.
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Taylor Adams has written about the restaurant industry for the Dallas Observer since 2016. Now the Observer's food editor, she attended Southern Methodist University before covering local news at The Dallas Morning News.