A new boutique coffee shop and roaster is now open at Westpost, formerly known as Pentagon Row.
Origin Coffee Lab and Kitchen served up its first morning cup of joe last month after initially announcing their arrival early last year. It’s located at 1101 S. Joyce Street, in the former Starbucks space between Basic Burger and Lebanese Taverna.
The coffee shop has a variety of options, including five different origins of coffee to choose from plus six methods of brewing.
Besides coffee, it also serves all-day breakfast like pancakes and benedicts as well as a “noon to night” menu with schnitzel and sliders.
Owner Andy Mekonnen tells ARLnow he opened the first iteration of this concept in Dubai in 2015. But he moved to the D.C.-area nearly five years ago and quickly realized Arlington could be a perfect place for another Origin.
“Arlington is vibrant… I thought the concept would be well-received here,” he says.
The shop was initially supposed to open in 2019, but COVID-19 related delays pushed it to 2021.
While recognizing that there are a number of boutique coffee shops in the county, Mekonnen says that what sets Origins apart is attempting to do it all in-house.
“The focus is not only on the coffee, but the food and pastries,” he says. “We are not out-sourcing anything, but trying to do everything in-house.”
That includes roasting. The shop has a glass-enclosed roastery inside that fully displays the roasting process to customers.
Mekonnen is also working on setting up roasting workshops, trainings, and coffee cupping sessions for customers.
“[Cupping sessions] is very similar to wine tastings,” he says. “Coffee isn’t just coffee. Coffee from different origins actually tastes very different.”
While opening up a small business in the midst of a pandemic comes with challenges, Mekonnen says a coffee shop like his has a natural advantage since most of his menu items can easily be offered as take-out.
“[We] have it sorta easier than other industries… because people have adapted to take-away,” he says. “People have learned to live with COVID.”