Local coffee shop opens in Brandon

Jan. 20, 2020

An independent coffee shop offering a more European style of espresso has opened in Brandon.

Kingbird Coffee Shop on Splitrock Boulevard offers coffee, espresso drinks, smoothies, grilled cheese sandwiches and a few bakery items. The menu eventually will expand to include more sandwiches, flatbreads, soups and salads. For now, the main attraction is the espresso.

“We’re doing more of the European (drinks), so the focus is on the pure extraction of the coffee, and then we add the most basic flavorings that they would offer as well,” said Billy Cutrer, who owns the business with his wife, Ellison. He has been making his own French vanilla for flavoring and also offers a selection of Torani syrups.

Kingbird’s coffee beans are from Duluth Coffee Co. in Duluth, Minn., which travels to Central America to source its beans using fair trade practices, Cutrer said. He and his wife became hooked on Duluth’s coffee after discovering it at Town Square Coffeehouse + Kitchen in Orange City, Iowa.

The centerpiece of the new coffee shop in Brandon is a gleaming copper, two-pull espresso machine.

“I ended up wanting to go with an old style, a style that was popular from the ’50s era,” Cutrer said. “It’s actually the style that Starbucks, I believe, started off with before they got really big and then went to these full automatics, but a lot of people are getting more into this vintage style. … It’s a super simple machine, but it does an amazing job.”

The coffee house, which has seating for up to 75 people, is in a retail center that the couple owns. The building also houses another business they started, Gypsy Trading Co., which is closing at the end of February. Kingbird’s decor is filled with handcrafted, locally made pieces like those that Gypsy’s vendor marketplace is known for.

“People wanted something a little bit different, a different option, something with a little bit more space,” Cutrer said of Kingbird joining Scooter’s Coffee in serving Brandon. “I wanted something that was more of an older feel but still had some modern touches. … We just wanted to create a really free-flowing place that’s not stressful, somewhere where people want to be … and feel welcome.”

Eventually, Cutrer hopes to host evening events with acoustic music and comedians. Kingbird has a beer and wine license and will serve locally made brews and vintages, he said.

Once warmer weather returns, Cutrer plans to add a drive-thru, but he wants Kingbird to be known mostly as a coffee house.

“I think when people come in, they’ll get that it’s more of a come in, sit down, enjoy your coffee, stay with us, you know, chit-chat, do your work. There’s Wi-Fi that’s free to use. I want students to come in here too. I guess the kids need somewhere else with a little bit more space to go and play on their computers and drink smoothies.” Their favorite smoothie so far has been the Strawberry Bananarama, Cutrer said.

To start, hours are 6:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays and 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

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Local coffee shop opens in Brandon

An independent coffee shop offering a more European style of espresso has opened in Brandon.

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