By KATHLEEN SHAW
Daily News-Record 9/16/20
During lazy summer days, Phil Duntemann would experimentally roast coffee beans on his porch. Within three years, those dog days of hobby roasting evolved into an operational cafe serving downtown Harrisonburg pedestrian traffic through Agora Market.
Over the years, Broad Porch Coffee Co. has played an instrumental role in creating a homey feeling for patrons walking into Agora Market, greeting shoppers with a plethora of budding plants and the comforting aroma of freshly brewed coffee. Now, the business is ready to begin its next chapter by opening a second location in Luray.
In downtown Luray on Main Street next to Hawksbill Creek, co-owners Duntemann and Jill McMullan are planning to open a second location of Broad Porch Coffee Co. in late winter or early spring. The new location will offer a limited dining menu with pastries and small breakfast items.
“I really like the idea of trying to source what you can locally and seasonally, so if we can incorporate that into the menu, it’d be great,” McMullan said.
While the new location will not feature on-site roasting as it does at Agora Market, the business partners said they will be roasting on a larger scale, experimenting with different roasting techniques and recipes.
Broad Porch Coffee Co. uses coffee beans in the current harvest cycle from farms that practice sustainability and are Rainforest Alliance- certified, organic and fair trade.
Duntemann said the pandemic forced the cafe to move online, but the virtual sales have been successful, so expanding the business has been a steady, exciting process.
“Luray is going to be a little more of a cafe. In Agora, it’s a shared space, which has worked pretty well, but we’ve been limited,” he said. “We’re trying to improve the quality every day and make new drinks. … Keep making people happy with good coffee.”
Despite the name suggesting a coffee- only operation, Broad Porch’s menu offers espresso drinks and teas.
Harrisonburg resident Ricardo Fearing usually orders a cup of “Southern split” blend black coffee and began ordering 2-pound bags of whole bean coffee. He said the cafe has never compromised on flavor, and the service is personable and welcoming.
“Oftentimes a coffee shop can have a good atmosphere but mediocre coffee. That’s definitely not the case here. Phil and Jill have done a great job at making great coffee and everyone there is always awesome to talk to,” Fearing said.
McMullan is the visual genius of the duo, having graduated from James Madison University with a degree in architecture, which she applies by delicately crafting the atmosphere of the cafe. She said she is designing the second location by looking at the Luray spot as an open canvas of possibilities.
“To expand our wholesale market and get our name out there more and work on branding and curating a new space is always exciting,” she said. “My pride and joy is definitely the space. I do love curating good spaces, so this has kind of given me the ability to start with a totally blank palette and build from that.”
Allie Motyka, co-owner of Heartworn Vintage, was among the team that launched Agora Market in 2017. She said that early on, she knew the desire for a local coffee shop was there, so she invited Duntemann and McMullen to kick- start Broad Porch Coffee Co. as a sit-in cafe inside the Harrisonburg retail block.
Motyka said McMullan’s design taste paired with Duntemann’s craft beverages have established a harmonious space that radiates comfort and individuality.
“The way they have it set up with local paintings and flowers on the wall make it feel very cozy, especially the furniture — vintage furniture gives it a nice homey feel,” she said. “It’s comfortable.”
As the homegrown cafe looks to the future with a second location in the works, Motyka said she is proud of the pair’s success and expects big flavors and big moves from the coffee duo.
“I am very excited for them. I know they’ve been working on this for a while, so I’m proud of them,” she said. “It’s good to see them grow.”