Sure, you may think Dallas has enough coffee shops. Why add another one?
In Deep Ellum, Land of a Thousand Hills Coffee is bringing more than coffee — there are local, and incredible, baked goods, coffee brewed from Rwandan beans and an effort to bring together nonprofits and other groups to do some good in the neighborhood.
There are more locations of Land of a Thousand Hills in six states, but the Deep Ellum one is special, not just in that it operates a little differently, but it’s run by a resident who has been in the neighborhood since she was a kid, going to shows at the Curtain Club and Club Dada, where her parents would play music.
Randee Stevens is the community manager here, and her husband Bryce Flores helps her. Pretty much any day of the week, you can enter to find them behind the U-shaped bar, people working on laptops, others meeting with friends and the smell of coffee brewing. If your timing is right, you’ll hear bright laughter from somewhere in the room, where Randee’s little girl seems to always be having a good time.
Jonathan Golden founded Land of a Thousand Hills to help create employment opportunities in Rwanda. The company works with farmers in the country who own their own farms: The goal is for a collaborative trade, paying fair prices for beans and co-labor with farmers to build processes and tools that benefit everyone. A percentage of profits then go back to the company’s Do Good Initiative, where dollars fund schools, training, transportation, health and more.
The Dallas location is the newest.
“With this company, what they look for first is the neighborhood,” Stevens says.
They found the traffic and vibrancy in Deep Ellum that they were looking for, plus the community leadership they needed in Stevens, who has worked in the neighborhood for years, mostly on the bar side.
“I’m really more passionate about coffee than alcohol,” she says.
But what she’s even more passionate about is her role in connecting the community. She aims to work with different organizations, ones focused around homelessness, therapy and providing other resources.
“We are here for anything they need,” Stevens says.
Inside the coffee shop is the wrap-around bar, half of which is devoted to high-top seating, bright yellow metal stools contrasting with the grey countertop. Another quarter houses the espresso machine and large coffee grinders. Then there’s a lovely case of baked goods — mostly the pastry variety, a few sweet and plenty savory. They come from the local Moreish Donuts, which delivers the cravable goods every morning.
“Everything we do, we source locally or we do it here,” Stevens says, noting they make their own sauces and syrups.
Beyond pastries, there are sandwiches — chicken salad or a greens and cheese on a croissant.“This is definitely a co-working, hangout spot,” Stevens says. “People bring their dogs, their kids. It’s a routine, and we love being a routine for people.”
They’re in the process of getting licenses to sell beer, wine and liquor, and events will soon be on the way — think live music (acoustic, intimate), open mics and more.
“What we do here is much different than the other [LTH] coffee shops. Deep Ellum is a different element than the other places,” Stevens says. “When people walk in here, there’s no judgment, it’s a safe place.”
Land of a Thousand Hills Coffee is located at 2900 Canton St. and is open 6:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday.