coffee shops (copy)

Magnolia Press, open since last month, will have a grand opening Monday, offering free coffee to the first 200 guests and pastry samples throughout the day.

Magnolia Press Coffee Co., the humongous joe-and-pastry parlor at Eighth Street and Webster Avenue, has been drawing crowds a few weeks now, but a grand opening has been scheduled Monday, according to a press release.

The first 200 guests will receive a complimentary 12-ounce cup of coffee, and free pastry samples will be served all day.

The coffee shop is open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday, perched at the edge of Magnolia Market at the Silos, which attracts an estimated 35,000 visitors weekly, according to Waco tourism officials.

The space behind Magnolia Press remains vacant for now and eventually will become display space for a furniture line, Magnolia spokesman John Marsicano said.

Magnolia Press “features a walk-up window located on the back patio where guests can order drinks and treats-to-go like the original ‘1905’ house latte infused with toasted marshmallow and vanilla,” according to the press release.

The numerical name references the year the Katy Park baseball field opened at or near that intersection.

Magnolia’s discount program also will become effective Monday.

All Baylor University students, faculty and staff will receive a 10% discount with a valid Baylor ID, and drip coffee will be priced at $1 for all veterans who present valid Veterans Affairs identification.

The back of the Veterans Affairs Waco Regional Office faces the shop from across Webster Avenue.

Civilians pay $2.50 for 12 ounces of drip coffee, $3.50 for 16 ounces. The total bill of fare includes house cold brew, lattes, mochas cappuccinos, espressos, hot cocoas, teas and pastries including a savory artichoke croissant, lemon blueberry roll, chocolate croissant trio, coffee cake muffin and Magnolia Press chocolate cake, according to an online menu.

Quality Arabica Grader

Meanwhile, Waco-based Apex Coffee Roasters has announced its director of coffee, Cody Fergusson, has been certified as a Quality Arabica Grader by the Coffee Quality Institute. He was required to pass 22 tests “that assess an individual’s ability to accurately cup and grade coffees according to standards put forth by the Special Coffee Association,” according to a press release.

There are about 600 such professionally licensed graders in the United States and only a handful in Texas, the press release states.

“Having a licensed Q grader here in Waco is really a big deal,” Apex Coffee owner Brett Jameson said. “We have always had great coffee, but now with an in-house grader, we can certify that Apex is made from only the best.”

Jameson hired Fergusson, a former Starbucks employee, when Jameson opened his own shop downtown, Dichotomy Coffee & Spirits, 508 Austin Ave. Apex Coffee Roasters was born in 2014 “to supply the growing needs of Dichotomy, but also as a wholesale and retail coffee brand which is now distributed nationally,” according to the press release. Fergusson selects coffees and supervises roasting.

Apex Coffee Roasters chooses beans from Central America, Africa and Asia, supplying boutique roasted coffee to cafes, restaurants and hotels.

Union Hall

Union Hall, the self-proclaimed “urban eatery” at Eighth Street and Franklin Avenue, continues to make progress in pursuit of a grand opening.

Captain Billy Whizzbang’s is serving up burgers, and Unshakeable Milkshakes is making milkshakes, real estate agent Jonathan Garza said by email. Koko Ramen scheduled a sneak peak Saturday and should roll out full hours Monday, Garza said.

Other vendors are close and should be opening within weeks.

“We will hold off on a grand opening to allow our vendors to get their feet wet and understand how the food hall will work,” Garza wrote. “Our goal is to do an event at the start of next year to showcase Union Hall.”

Local builders will get a look Dec. 5, when the local Associated General Contractors of America chapter will have its annual Christmas party there, according to the monthly chapter newsletter.

TownePlace Suites

Yes, Virginia, there is another hotel under Waco’s Christmas tree.

The new 85-suite TownePlace Suites by Marriott Waco Northeast is scheduled to open Wednesday near Interstate 35 and Industrial Boulevard in the Bellmead-Lacy Lakeview area. The property “is built for travelers looking for a simple and friendly place where they can settle in, keep their routine, and easily connect to the Waco area,” according to a press release.

Amenities include full kitchens with stainless steel appliances and granite countertops, adjustable work spaces, flat-screen TVs, fitness center, outdoor pool, meeting rooms, Wi-Fi throughout and a Weber grill.

TownePlace joins Best Western Plus, Motel 6, Hampton Inn and Fairfield Inn & Suites in that immediate area of I-35 North, near Cracker Barrel.

Cinemark

It appears little news is breaking along North Interstate 35, between New Road and Central Texas Marketplace, on land where movie theater giant Cinemark has proposed placing a new multi-screen theater and entertainment complex that it has hinted might include a golf-related attraction.

Months have gone by since Cinemark formally announced its intentions.

Austen Baldridge, a senior associate with Houston-based NewQuest Properties, which is collaborating with Cinemark on the venture, said additional information should be forthcoming early next year.

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