Brewing up: Old Soul expands into Davis and in Sacramento’s Oak Park

Old Soul, the popular coffee roaster with cafes in midtown, Oak Park and the Sacramento International Airport, announced expansion plans Thursday that will see the company spend close to $500,000 renovating two properties and hiring 32 full-time employees.

Old Soul co-owners Tim Jordan and Jason Griest said they are opening a new coffee shop and bar in downtown Davis, taking over the 5,900-square-foot building on G Street occupied by the long-running Czech restaurant Little Prague, which is closing soon.

Old Soul is also expanding its Oak Park presence in Sacramento by taking over a 900-square-foot space on Third Avenue, adjacent to its 40 Acres coffee shop on Broadway. Jordan said they expect to spend up to $200,000 on a new 400-square-foot patio with seating for 24, along with a new kitchen in the building, which had been occupied by Uncle Jed’s Cut Hut, a recently closed barbershop.

The new space has the tentative name Cooper on 3rd. It will emphasize wine with some craft beer, along with what Jordan describes as an “experimental kitchen” that will encourage collaboration with outside food purveyors and area food artisans. It will have a separate entrance from the coffee shop but will be connected via a hallway, once a wall is knocked out, Jordan said.

“Of all our locations, the percentage of customers interested in full food service is greatest in Oak Park,” said Jordan.

While the Cooper on 3rd concept is still in the planning stages, it seems unlike anything else on the local restaurant scene. The eatery won’t be anchored by a high-profile chef. Rather, there will be a staff of cooks, and other food professionals will be invited to participate based on what they might bring to the equation.

Jordan noted that offerings from visiting food professionals could include such items as cured meats and mustards. Cooper’s menu would rotate based on participating chefs. The patio and kitchen construction is already permitted and should take two months, according to the Old Soul owners. The business is projected to open in late November.

In Davis, Old Soul is also planning a late-November launch, though construction and renovations are expected to be more extensive and cost $250,000 or more, Jordan said. The restaurant space will be made over “in the Old Soul style,” which has an aesthetic that is a mix of modern and industrial. It will include a separate business tentatively called “The Handle Bar.” The eatery/bar and cafe/coffeehouse will share a new kitchen.

Jordan noted that the bar, which is applying for a full liquor license, will feature 16 tap handles for beer and is geared toward a mature, post-college clientele. The Little Prague space also has a popular 3,000-square-foot patio facing G Street.

The Old Soul owners say they have been looking for two years to expand into Davis, but several deals on properties fell through for various reasons.

The expansion adds to Old Soul’s portfolio, which includes Old Soul at the Weatherstone in midtown on 21st Street, Old Soul in the Alley (also in midtown on L Street), Old Soul at the Sacramento airport and Old Soul at 40 Acres in Oak Park.

Sacramento’s coffee scene has flourished in recent years and has seen other expansion. Insight Coffee on S Street in Southside Park recently took over the former Broadacre coffee shop on 10th Street downtown. It also opened a new location at the upscale Pavilions shopping center on Fair Oaks Boulevard near Howe Avenue.

Other top coffee shops have expanded with multiple locations, including Chocolate Fish with two; Temple Coffee with three; and Naked Coffee, which has an east Sacramento location called Tupelo, along with two Naked Lounge locations.

Old Soul’s Jordan expects other Sacramento coffee shops will consider expanding into Davis and says there is plenty of room for more players there and elsewhere.

“We wouldn’t be doing this if we didn’t think there was continuing opportunity, and we won’t be saturating it by any means,” he said.