A perfect pairing

DALLAS — Curious about what has been brewing for months inside the old Adolf’s Electric building at the corner of Mill and Main streets in downtown Dallas?   Your wait is over.    Pressed Coffee & Wine Bar opened its doors Monday afternoon for this week’s “soft opening.”    The completely renovated building now features a wine bar, coffee bar and stage for live music.    A grand opening is scheduled Saturday, beginning at 9 a.m.    Co-owners Douglas Graven and Rachel Phelps hope the combination of coffee, wine and music will equal more than the sum of its parts. Photo by Jolene Guzman Pressed owners intend to keep the bar open until at least 10 p.m. on most nights to accommodate those who would like to enjoy a glass of wine or live music in the evening.    “This is such a unique and interesting concept for Dallas,” Phelps said. “There won’t be anything else like it. The people that I’ve talked to from Dallas and outside (of Dallas) have said if the coffee doesn’t get them, the wine will get them; if the wine doesn’t get them, the music will. There is almost something for everyone.”   Graven, also the owner of local coffee roasting company PrimoCaffe, and Phelps, the owner of Tater’s Café in Dallas, want to keep the focus local.    As much as possible, the wines featured will be from right here in Polk County or the Willamette Valley, same with much of the food on the small plates menu.    Most beers will be Willamette Valley and Oregon-brewed. The coffee is PrimoCaffe and will be roasted in-house.   More than just local wines, Pressed will offer little-known labels, giving area vineyards a place besides their own tasting rooms to feature wines not widely distributed.    That, Graven and Phelps surmise, will draw people to Pressed, and perhaps other places downtown.    “It really is a beautiful location down here,” Graven said. “It has so much potential and it just needs a few anchor businesses to really start to stimulate bringing folks from outside the area and becoming a destination.”   To jump start becoming one of those anchor businesses, the pair are booking bands from the surrounding area — Portland, Corvallis and Eugene — to bring out-of-town fans to their venue.   A new concept is born   Phelps was one of Graven’s first restaurant customers after he started his coffee roasting business in May 2012.   Last spring, Graven told Phelps he was looking for a storefront to sell his coffee. That got the wheels turning.   “I had been singing and doing open mics in a wine bar in Salem and I was watching how the wine bar was flowing,” Phelps said.    She kept thinking about the concept and how similar customers of wine bars are to espresso bar customers. Photo by Jolene Guzman Dallas artist Kev Kohler puts the finishing touches on a mural at Pressed Coffee & Wine Bar Friday. The downtown Dallas venue will host a grand opening Saturday morning.   “They are unique in that the people who are wine people or coffee people love to dive into all the aspects of them,” Phelps said. “A coffee bar and wine bar setup are so similar that I kept looking at the model and thought, ‘Why can’t you just blend the two?’”   Graven began looking into the idea and found they were not the first to devise of the idea. None other than Seattle-based coffee giant Starbucks began testing the concept in select stores a few years ago.   “From my perspective, there’s a company that spends a lot of money to figure out where they could maximize the opportunity on their investment,” Graven said. “I’m happy to leverage their research to say ‘Yes, this is a great idea.’”    They officially became partners in the business last summer — bouncing around ideas that evolved into Pressed.    They were surprised to find a wealth of talent locally for both the wine and coffee side of the operation.    Similarly, they found no shortage of skilled musicians playing in a variety of styles.   Location, location   All they needed was a perfect space to put it all together. Once they saw the old Adolf’s Electric building — which had most recently been a glass shop and flooring store — it was love at first sight.    Building owner Carl Harbaugh said in an interview before Pressed opened that he was excited about the concept and the transformation the building had to go through to make it happen.    Harbaugh put work into it himself before he opened his business, South Town Glass, at the location in 2010, but even then, he knew it had more potential.    “It just lends itself to being more than a glass shop,” Harbaugh said in a 2010 Itemizer-Observer article. “It's too beautiful.”   In Pressed, it seems the trio believe they have found the location’s higher purpose.    Under renovation since September, Graven said they strived to keep what was developing quiet.    It wasn’t completely successful.    “We’ve had a lot of faces pressed up against the glass and there have been endless rumors and ideas about what is happening, some of which are true and some that weren’t even close,” Graven said, laughing. “That’s been kind fun and, actually, unintentionally, it’s generated a lot of buzz.”   They believe that buzz could translate into success, perhaps making Pressed a new gathering place downtown.    “We would love nothing more,” Phelps said. “I wanted to have a place where people could get together, whether it be a couple girlfriends or a husband and wife after work who just want to enjoy a glass of wine or coffee and feel comfortable.”   Check It Out   What: Pressed Coffee & Wine Bar.   Where: 788 Main St., Dallas.    Regular Hours (subject to change): Sunday and Monday, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Tuesday through Thursday, 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 7 a.m. to midnight.   Of note: Pressed features a small plate and appetizers menu and full lineup of coffee drinks. Microbrews available on tap and by the bottle. Live music will be scheduled several nights per week.    For more information: 503-751-1666; www.pressedonline.com.


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