Ultimate coffee experience: CULTURE Craft Coffee & Espresso comes to The Centre

CULTURE manager Melissa Fryburger, right, guitarist Boaz Roberts and Steven Fishwick finishing his live art Culture painting at the shop's grand opening this month.

They always do it up right at The Centre, Escondido with top quality shops, a luxury Lexus of Escondido dealership, Vintana fine dining and now this, CULTURE Craft Coffee & Espresso.

CULTURE held its grand opening celebration last week during which coffee and company took over the ground floor of The Centre and a good time was had by all.

“This is a very good thing for Escondido,” said Christopher Khousravi, a retired Escondido businessman who turned out for the Apple Watch raffle, art, music and oh by the way, complimentary cortado at the event. “And the coffee was very good.”

Meeting of the media: Shera Sandwell, right, embraces Kathy Valentine, UT sale rep at CULTURE opening.

Meeting of the media: Shera Sandwell, right, embraces Kathy Valentine, UT sale rep at CULTURE opening.

That’s the whole point. Lexus Escondido owner and president Judy Jones-Cone who first conceived of a classy new concept $29 million, 326,000-square-foot Lexus auto dealership in 2002, brought it to fruition in 2008 with a three-story building featuring upscale retail, public art, offices and even a flower shop.

It’s been a boon for Escondido, but something was missing. That led to Jones-Cone brewing up the missing ingredient, according to CULTURE manager Melissa Fryburger, a former North County Times distribution manager. “She wanted her own coffee shop,” Fryburger said. “She wanted craft coffee.”

Jones-Cone’s wish has become an entrepreneurial command, providing something different for Escondido, coffee lovers or bean novices alike.

“Coffee shops are abundant in San Diego, from mainstream chains to locally focused brew specialists, which we love,” CULTURE said in the run-up to the grand opening. “Yet the refined coffee culture that has been exploding in the coastal and southern regions of San Diego have been somewhat scarce to the inland areas such as Escondido. Culture Craft aims to offer the ultimate coffee experience to locals and visitors alike.”

David Kennedy prepares some special brew at CULTURE.

David Kennedy prepares some special brew at CULTURE.

It’s all about the gourmet beans. David Kennedy of James Coffee Company, perhaps the hottest roaster in the entire region, operating out Little Italy, is doing the honors. It was an honor to see the main man himself at the opening along with a small crew.

If the Kennedy name rings a bell, and not the political clan but otherwise, it may be due to his musical roots. Kennedy was a guitarist with the epic local band Angels of the Airwaves supergroup who featured the likes of Blink-182, and Rancho Santa Fe resident, Tom DeLonge and other top San Diego players. These guys were huge a few years ago, but while music is great and will prevail, sometimes it’s good to have another calling and steady gig.

For Kennedy, it’s all abut the bean, and not just any bans but the best money can buy. “We did a lot of traveling,” Kennedy said between custom roasting and serving at the event. “We spent a lot of downtime cruising looking for interesting social experiences.

“I love coffee and started getting deeper and deeper into it before starting to roast at my Poway house two years ago,” Kennedy said. “Last year I got a team together and started doing this.”

Kennedy has trained CULTURE staff in the art of great coffee, espresso, lattes, coffee drinks, even tea, so that;s a given. The space also features tailored desserts from the best bakers in the area, delivered fresh daily. Everybody raves about the blueberry streusel muffins, so one might start there. should great food need a bit more oomph there’s also free WIFI.

Being at The Centre has proven good for everyone so far. Actually, fresh brewed coffee is complimentary. The Lexus team and its customers swear by it. “Its keeping everyone awake,” said the quipster Pat Mulholland, a Lexus salesperson known affectionally as Paddy-cakes by his peers.

Lexus sales and licensing specialist Pat Mulholland checks out The Grapevine.

Lexus sales and licensing specialist Pat Mulholland checks out The Grapevine.

Of course, CULTURE fits right in with all that the Centre has to offer. Jones-Cone previously said she wanted “to engage the community not only in a business way in serving their transportation needs, but engage the community in a philanthropic and social way.”

That means Steven Fishwick with his fine art. Lux Avenue Boutique. Sweet Ribbon events. The Lexus Lounge. Vintana, of course, and now this. CULTURE. Check it out 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday to Friday; 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and 9:30 am to 6 p.m. Sunday at The Centre, 1205 Auto Parkway, just off Interstate 15.