Tag: 7201 NE Glisan

Futura Coffee Roasters Opening on NE Glisan

Update – January 30th 2022: Futura Coffee Roasters officially opened this weekend. The cafe hours are 7 AM to 5 PM weekdays, with weekend service from 8 AM to to 1 PM.


Next month, Futura Coffee Roasters will open at 7201 NE Glisan Street in the former Fillmore space. The creators of this new coffee producer and cafe believe sustainability is the future for the industry and have woven that value into every aspect of their business.

Futura Coffee Roasters is the vision of CJ Speelman and a group of coffee professionals who share a common perspective. For ten years, Speelman honed his skills in the industry, first working at the counter as a Barista and eventually creating the roasting company Tanager Coffee Roasters. Speelman owns The Arbor Lodge coffee shop in North Portland, making this NE Glisan location his second store. His partners in this new venture bring many years of retail coffee experience and respect for the art and delicate science of good coffee.

The group behind the cafe feels that flavor and brewing are only part of a perfect cup of coffee. Speelman explains that a simple morning ritual like drinking coffee can impact the environment. “As a company, Futura Coffee Roasters see regenerative agriculture, the rehabilitation of soil and increasing of biodiversity among many things, as one of the key forces in combating climate change.” The company is committed to building relationships with farmers and sourcing coffee as ethically and sustainably as possible. Additionally, food items on the menu include a mix of locally sourced pastries and bagels.

Since August, crews have reworked the corner coffee shop into a new space. The team took the same approach to the renovation as they have with their menu, making for a slightly prolonged process. “We took a lot of time making sure that we used as much sustainable materials as possible, from handmade tiles and eco-friendly wall plaster to fixtures and furniture. Because of these commitments to sustainability alongside the supply chain issues, it has taken a bit longer than we had hoped,” said Speelman.

Although the cafe will no longer resemble Fillmore, Speelman recognizes its role in the community and wants to welcome back those regular customers. “I have been a big fan of Fillmore and the special connection they had with the neighborhood. We hope to capture that same spirit and add our own unique vibe. I am extremely excited to share the space with the neighborhood. It is looking incredible and will look and feel like a whole new space.”

Expect Futura Coffee Roasters to launch midway through January, opening daily from 7 AM to 5 PM. Follow the cafe’s Instagram for updates and to learn more about the treats that will soon become available on NE Glisan.

Glisan’s New Approach to Outdoor Seating

This month, Blank Slate Bar created unique outdoor seating on NE Glisan. Unlike other covered dining spaces constructed in curbside parking spaces, this open-walled shelter spans the entire width of the sidewalk, covering the whole pedestrian space. Its design is in response to concerns around customer seating adjacent to heavy traffic.

Over the last 18 months, bars and restaurants have relied on outdoor seating to serve customers safely during the pandemic. The Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) expanded those spaces through special free permits, accommodating a variety of seating configurations for the service industry. Most businesses in Montavilla chose to create Parking Plazas to serve guests. That style of outdoor seating converts space previously used for curbside parking into expanded sidewalk seating while maintaining adequate space for pedestrians. As the need for outdoor seating persisted, more substantial wood structures replaced temporary configurations. Most gained covered roofs and sidewalls.

This image and cover image by Weston Ruter

Regardless of the structure’s build quality, Parking Plazas have customers seated next to moving traffic with only a thin wood divider protecting people from passing vehicles. On slower streets, that is less of an issue. However, seating placed on SE Stark Street can feel dangerously close to fast-moving trucks and cars.

Compared to Stark Street, NE Glisan traffic is more hazardous. That reality caused Kierre Van De Veere, the Blank Slate Bark’s owner, to consider design alternatives for their outdoor seating. “We chose not to do parking space seating due to the busy nature of Glisan. So we worked with PBOT and our design team to come up with this option.” In this configuration, customers on Glisan have a parking lane buffer between vehicles and the tables.

Blank Slate Bar’s covered seating area features a transparent corrugated shed roof that extends from the front of the building to the curb and runs the entire width of the bar’s shopfront. The arrangement allows for two-person seating against the windows and larger group seating close to the curb. Pedestrians can walk through the center area in an arcade-style passageway between the tables. 

In addition to its unique placement, crews constructed the shelter out of large timbers. The result is a structure that seems permanent and intentional. People seem to appreciate the design used at Blank Slate Bar, according to Van De Veere. “We have gotten an overwhelmingly positive response from our customers and neighbors, who are always supporting us in any way they can.”

Regardless of the design, Van De Veere appreciates the impact of open-air seating on places like hers. “These outdoor spaces are a lifeline to small businesses.” The new seating is available just in time for winter and built to last for many years to come. Blank Slate Bar is located at 7201 NE Glisan Street Suite C and is open Tuesday through Saturday.

Fillmore Coffee Shop Moves Online Only

After six years serving the community from their cafe on NE Glisan Street, the owners of Fillmore coffee shop decided to close the physical store and embrace online coffee delivery. The pandemic closures and customer tensions stressed this early pioneer of Glisan street, forcing the family business to adapt. What had begun as a temporary financial bridge during the COVID-19 lockdown turned into the permeant path forward for the coffee company.

In June of 2015, when the Fillmore coffee shop opened at 7201 NE Glisan Street, there were few options like it on the street. The shop’s co-owner Tim Willcox perceived the lack of food services in the area as an opportunity to take his passion for coffee to the public and perhaps start a trend. “[I] saw a need for a community space on this stretch of Glisan. This was back when there was pretty much nothing happening aside from East Glisan Pizza. It was sort of a dead zone, and I think Fillmore helped to fuel some cool businesses developing in the area,” explained Willcox. Within a few years, bars, bakeries, and other dining options filled in around their shop.

Tim Willcox and his wife started the shop with a loan from his mother. For years, they struggled to build a stable business but saw success as others joined them on Glisan. Then COVID-19 brought that all to a halt. “We decided to cease our cafe operations due to the pandemic. Our sales had dropped nearly 80 percent in just a matter of days, and the lockdown on March 15th cemented our destiny. We had to let all of our staff go,” remembered Willcox. “Our only path to keeping the business alive was to start delivering bags of freshly roasted coffee to our customer’s doors.”

The roasted coffee delivery program kept them afloat until the cafe reopened in mid-May 2020. They served to-go orders through a plexiglass window with inside seating closed to the public. The business was nothing like before, and working in this reduced capacity stressed the staff. “Nobody was allowed inside the shop, and Monika was working her other full-time job while making all the food orders. Our daughter was doing remote learning on a laptop at the shop. It was a grind, to say the least. We managed to do this for a year until spring 2021,” explained Willcox.

After trying to make it work, it became apparent to Willcox that the new business model was not sustainable and no longer rewarding. “Things had just become too complicated and stressful with the pandemic, and while most of our customers were great and thankful about our safety protocols, we had to deal with quite a few people who were genuinely angry that they couldn’t come inside to order and hang out. We were screamed at and insulted by disgruntled customers.”

For the family business, it was time to move on from the cafe. However, Willcox did not want to give up on the delivery service. It is a way to keep roasting great coffee and remain connected to loyal customers. As an online-only business, Fillmore is still evolving, according to Willcox. “It’s still a work in progress. We’re building out a small Roastery and coffee lab. Things have been slower, yet still steady.” As the team builds onto the delivery business, they hope to gain a few wholesale customers and develop a nationwide mail-out service.

For Willcox, the transition to online coffee sales was the right choice for his family. “Right now, I’m happy with what we’re doing, and it gives me time to take my kid to and from school every day. It’s definitely less stressful.” If you miss your morning cup of Fillmore Coffee or want to try out one of their roasts, schedule a delivery online at orderfillmorecoffee.com