By: Shilo Urban
Five years have passed since food was last served at 1417 Vaughn Blvd., a place where Texas Wesleyan University students and faculty would often gather for burgers and chicken at the old Poly Grill.
But that could change this year, as plans are in motion to bring a new business to the currently vacant 1940s building — a coffee shop.
Behind the project is Mia Moss, daughter-in-law of former Fort Worth City Councilman Frank Moss. The coffee shop will be called Black Coffee, inspired by “all my family ever drank” growing up, Moss said.
But the menu will have a little more than black coffee — Moss, who attended the American Barista & Coffee School in Portland, plans to serve espresso-based beverages like cappuccinos, lattes and mochas, as well as teas and, eventually, local beer and wine for the afternoons. She has chosen Dallas-based Oak Cliff Coffee Roasters to be her supplier and also tapped friend and Arlington-based chef, Deneice Cobb, who owns catering company Taste of Class, to create a menu of premade meals and paninis that will be made in-house.
Moss said she hopes to “merge the coffee culture with the culture on the East Side” and bring an establishment similar to what can be found on the Near Southside’s West Magnolia Avenue.
“To go right across [Interstate] 35, you don’t see any of that over there. It’s a shock,” she said. “I think it’s going to be great.”
The 1,373-square-foot building was built in 1940, according to the Tarrant Appraisal District. The building has housed several restaurants over the years, including Griddle System No. 2, Jenkins Cafe and, most recently, Poly Grill, a soul food restaurant that closed in 2013. The following year, David Howard, president of the nonprofit Empower ME Corporation, purchased the property.
At press time, Howard said he was fixing to close the sale of the property (he said the sale would close about 20 days from press time). He’s selling the building for $180,000, believing in the building’s new purpose. “[The coffee shop] is much needed in the community,” he said.
There’s still much work to be done. At press time, Moss said she is looking for potential investors and an architect for the building renovation. She expects the shop to open before the end of the year.
“It’s a privilege to bring something like that over to the community,” she said. “I would love for the community to call it their own.”
By: Shilo Urban