has been one of Lenexa’s go-to java joints since 2003.
Changes have been brewing at the coffee shop since last May, when Carole Matsch and her entrepreneurial family bought Black Dog and started making it their own.
Carole’s husband, Ron Matsch, a founder of the locally ased soccer camp operatorChallenger Sports, built new countertops. Their son Chris, who owns a Lenexa skate and snowboarding shop called Ride Fourever
, started baking organic artisan bread in the kitchen, and his wife, Kate, started making batches of gluten-free granola.
The family enlisted a graphic designer to makeover Black Dog’s logo, menu and visual identity. But Chris Matsch says the biggest change is the shop’s fresh dedication to top-quality coffee.
The Lenexa coffeehouse has done away with self-serve coffee dispensers in favor of pour-over (or manually brewed) coffee, espresso drinks and freshly brewed teas. Black Dog’s list of specialty coffee drinks has been edited to a short list of customer favorites that includes the Snickers ($2.40 for a 16-ounce cup), sweetened with chocolate, caramel and hazelnut syrups.
Also, Chris Matsch says, “a lot of the baristas went full-time, which created a better, more consistent atmosphere. We owe a lot to them — they’ve been incredible.”
Black Dog’s coffee is now brewed with locally roasted beans fromMessenger Coffee Co., a recent offshoot of Benetti’s Coffee.
When I went to Black Dog Coffeehouse last month, the friendly barista behind the counter guided me through the menu and pointed out the shop’s newest seasonal drink offering, the Shatto Sweetheart. The memorable mocha ($3.50 for an 8-ounce cup) was made with strawberry-flavored milk from Shatto Milk Co., which gave its foam a pretty pink color. The sweet drink made my morning.
Coffee is a natural match for Black Dog’s gourmet toast, which begins with bread made by Chris Matsch from organic ingredients and a natural mild sourdough starter. The bread takes three days to make and comes in several flavors — coconut white chocolate and cranberry walnut are customer favorites. After it’s sliced thick and toasted until golden, it’s topped with homemade jam, freshly ground almond butter, local honey and sea salt.
Toast “is an understatement of what this is,” Chris Matsch says. “We have a lot of people who eat it for breakfast — it’s that filling.”
To meet customer demand for the toast, which sells for $2.95 to $3.45 a slice, Matsch expanded with a bakery next door, in a space that used to house a karate dojo. The fledglingIbis Bakery was recently featured in The Star’s 2014 Food Issue
Since The Star’s feature on Ibis Bakery, “we’ve basically doubled our daily toast” production, Matsch says.
Because the bread takes three days to make, Black Dog limits toast sales to mornings (6 a.m. to noon Monday-Friday, 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, and 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sunday). Sales of whole loaves are limited to Wednesdays and Saturdays.
If you’re at Black Dog Coffeehouse at lunchtime, you can try Ibis Bakery’s bread on a sandwich. Build your own for $6, get a grilled cheese ($5) or go vegan with a roasted vegetable sandwich ($6.50), stuffed with roasted red peppers, onions, artichokes, garlic and plenty of fresh basil pesto.
Like a true entrepreneur, Chris Matsch is already looking at selling his bread outside the coffeeshop. Look for Ibis Bakery bread at Overland Park Farmers Market and Somerset Ridge Winery in the spring.