North Texas Daily

Duino Coffeehouse brews up new connections for Denton

Duino Coffeehouse brews up new connections for Denton

Duino Coffeehouse brews up new connections for Denton
February 09
13:00 2023

Hues of red and orange from Turkish lamps reflect across the industrial steel of Duino Coffeehouse, a family-owned coffee shop folded amongst the storefronts of Justice Plaza.

The newly opened coffee shop is inspired by the hamlet of Duino, Italy, off the Adriatic coast. The city is home to roughly 1,421 people and the United World College. The Italian municipality was the beginning of a love for learning about coffee.

Co-owner Hesham Bakr and Supervisor Aubrey Suda pose in Duino Coffeehouse on Jan. 27, 2023. Photo by Bren McDonald

“I used to live there, that’s where I actually attended high school, and it had such a profound impact on me,” said Hesham Bakr, United World College alumnus and Duino Coffeehouse owner. “I thought it was a great namesake because we’re building this tiny little spot where we can celebrate our differences and our commonalities.” 

There are many different ways to make coffee, depending on one’s culture. The technique through which the coffee is brewed, roasted, steamed or dripped establishes the taste

“I was raised by my grandmother, who was part Turkish, and her favorite drink was Turkish coffee,” Bakr said. “She was beyond passionate about her coffee. [She] started [my] passion and love of coffee, and [my] passion [for] service.” 

Duino absorbed the space of the previous occupying business, Sons Coffee, in October 2022. The coffeehouse’s newest location occupies 4,300 square feet of space, filled with booths, a conference room, open seating and more to give shopgoers plenty of room to conduct their business. 

“[I stayed with Duino because] I really like working in coffee, but I didn’t want to work in Starbucks or any of the fast food places,” said Audrey Suba, an interdisciplinary art and design junior at the university.I really liked third-wave fancy coffee, and Sons was that, but now Duino [is too]. I love it so much.”

The Denton location is Duino’s third locale. Duino’s coffee can also be found at the original location in Mckinney and a coffee bar within Cottonwood Creek Church in Allen.

Barista Caitlynn Smith pours the base of an iced drink for a customer on Jan. 17, 2023. Photo by Bren McDonald

“I think one of my favorite things is the atmosphere,” university alumnus and Denton resident Eric Aponte said. “There’s a lot of different ‘cubby holes,’ if you will, to kind of hang out [and] there seems to be a mix of business, all of that, and I really like that about Duino.” 

The university itself holds two Starbucks and upwards of five individual coffee shops on the immediate streets surrounding the campus. 

“I think that it’s a business that you can support, knowing that it’s a good company,” Suba said. “If this place were just on the [Denton] Square like all the other coffee shops, we would be just as successful, but our location makes it a little hard. But I say it’s worth the extra mile to come.”

About a 10-minute drive from campus, the coffee shop is often less crowded than shops directly off the university’s main campus.

“On Feb. 2, we will be celebrating our four-year anniversary,” Bakr said. “We wanted a location close to or in a college town, a place where there were a lot of start-ups, and we are trying out a slightly different concept for [our new] coffee shop.” 

After its 2018 founding, Duino has been implementing new ways to interact with the community by hosting events like Cars and Coffee or Bikers and Brews, which the shop introduced to Denton earlier this month. These events are ways for the community to see Duino’s motto of “Strangers Become Friends” in action. 

“That statement brings to life what we’re trying to do,” Bakr said. “You walk into a place, and you start out as strangers and all of a sudden, you’re friends. And so we try to live [up to] that. It’s not just a slogan we slap on a sticker.”

The coffeehouse provides a space for young creatives to market themselves and widen their reach in the community. Currently on display in Duino’s Denton location is McKinney-based paint-pour artist Mansi. Another type of artistry found in Duino is its homemade syrups.

Customers sit throughout Duino Coffeehouse on Jan. 27, 2023. Photo by Bren McDonald

 “Most of our specialty drinks are all made with our own original recipes, and all of the ingredients are made from scratch,” Bakr said. “We start with amazing coffee beans that are roasted locally [because] we are a craft coffee house.”

Besides coffee, Duino also aims to craft a space in Denton so that students and businesses alike have a space where friends can be grown out of strangers. 

“When we decided to open a business, we wanted it to be a purpose-driven business that is ultra community-centric,” Bakr said. “It’s almost a destination in itself, and [it] goes beyond a morning cup of coffee. We stand for something behind that coffee.”

Featured Image Barista Elliot Vajda sets a drink on the counter and calls out the order for a customer on Jan. 27, 2023. Photo by Bren McDonald

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Gianna Ortner-Findlay

Gianna Ortner-Findlay

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