French Truck Coffee cafe and roastery opens at Crosstown

With an intense dedication to respecting the flavor of its high-quality coffee beans, French Truck Coffee has opened its second location in Memphis, moving into a 3,500-square-foot space at the newly redeveloped Crosstown Concourse.

Geoffrey Meeker, who started French Truck Coffee in New Orleans five-plus years ago, partnered with Jimmy Lewis of Relevant Roasters to establish the first French Truck location at 584 Tillman Street in August 2016. Part of the reason French Truck and Relevant Roasters merged was the fact that they would get the chance to go in at Crosstown.

The Tillman location’s small-batch roastery has been relocated to Crosstown, where customers have the opportunity to see the roasting process in action. French Truck currently roasts four coffee blends and eight single-origin beans.

“Right behind where you would order a cup of coffee there’s a glass wall, and you can see our brand new roaster and actually see the roasted beans falling out of the drum and onto the cooling tray,” explained Meeker, who has a background in the culinary world and was a chef for two years before starting to work in coffee.

The new cafe serves an extensive coffee and tea menu seven days a week, and it also offers prepared food for breakfast and lunch. The breakfast menu features items like a waffle sandwich with prosciutto, goat cheese and eggs while the lunch menu (which will be phased in soon) includes a caprese sandwich on a ciabatta roll, a tarragon chicken salad and turkey with brie and apple cardamom jam.

Pastries and baked goods are provided by Porcellino’s in East Memphis.

Walker Bradshaw Construction handled the buildout at Crosstown for the new cafe, and New Orleans-based Colectivo drew up the designs.

The cafe has hired about a dozen people so far, and Meeker expects to increase that number to around 20 employees in the next few months as business expands.

Developing partnerships with restaurants and grocers around town is a focal point for French Truck. One of French Truck’s big pushes right now is to try to work with restaurants that are of similar quality to help them up their coffee game.

“As soon as coffee comes out of the roaster there is a stopwatch that starts, and really good coffee is going to be consumed within ten days of coming out of the roaster,” said Meeker. “Our goal with our restaurant partners is to make sure they are getting coffee that is as fresh as it could possibly be so that their customers are getting a cup of coffee that is superior to what they would get elsewhere.”

French Truck Coffee also has several locations in its hometown of New Orleans, as well as a location in Baton Rouge opening later this month.

Read more articles by Michael Waddell.

Michael Waddell is a native Memphian who returned to Memphis several years ago after working for nearly a decade in San Diego and St. Petersburg, Fla., as a writer, editor and graphic designer. His work over the past few years has been featured in The Memphis Daily News, Memphis Bioworks Magazine, Memphis Crossroads, the New York Daily News and the New York Post. Contact Michael.
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