For years now, Deep Ellum has been in need of a solid third-wave coffee offering right in the thick of it all. To be clear, Deep Ellum's got coffee — Murray Street is a small, homey coffee shop for locals located just past the main drag, and Tiki Loco later brought vegan tacos and White Rock Coffee to Elm Street — but there seemed to be an open space, metaphorically, for a trendy coffee shop keeping caffeine levels up among bar crawlers on Main, Elm and Commerce.
Enter: Merit Coffee, the Dallas offshoot of San Antonio's Local Coffee, which is also opening a location in Highland Park soon. Merit opened last week in a sleek modern space on Main Street, steps away from Pecan Lodge and Revolver Taco Lounge. Merit is right in the thick of it all, and it's serving phenomenal coffee.
The sunlit space, designed by Austin-based Michael Hsu Office of Architecture, is small but makes good use of its space and even includes a small training center for employees. There is patio seating out front, couches and tables inside and after only a week, it's already populated by people working on laptops or sipping cappuccinos in large groups before heading back out into Deep Ellum.
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The menu is small, too, but has everything you'd expect from a third-wave shop like this one: espresso drinks, tea, cold-brew and "slow-pour" coffee. The food menu is equally small, with grab-and-go tacos from Tacodeli and a couple of yogurt and granola options. On our first visit, we opted for a cortado and were instantly impressed — these folks know how to pull a shot of espresso, but with Local Coffee's reputation, we expected nothing less.
Lines have been out the door during peak times, but that should level out. Merit will also soon open a shop at 4228 Oak Lawn Ave. in Highland Park. On leisurely days when we've got time to hang out and mingle, we can often be found at an upstairs table at Murray Street. But on those days when we're mid-bar or restaurant hop and need a caffeine jolt, Merit Coffee presents a stellar option right in the middle of Deep Ellum's busiest street. And thanks to nearby Local Hub Bicycle Co., there's bike parking just outside Merit's door.
Merit Coffee, 2639 Main St. (Deep Ellum). Open 7 a.m.-9 p.m. Sunday-Wednesday, 7 a.m.-10 p.m. Thursday-Saturday.