On a new Grind: Common Grounds is finding its place on the other side of I-35 in a portable trailer unit

Food Truck_CTAugust 20, 2014-23 FTW
The popular coffee shop and hangout spot, Common Grounds, is opening a new location in Downtown Waco, located on Franklin Avenue and South Six Street. The food trailer will offer a similar menu as the on-campus coffee shop, with the exception of frozen coffee drinks and smoothies, placing an emphasis on espresso and good pour-over coffee.
Carlye Thronton | Lariat Photo Editor

By Rae Jefferson
Arts & Entertainment Editor

Caffeine addicts and music junkies who have developed a love for all things Common Grounds will be pleased to know the coffee shop has found new roots on the other side of the highway.

The quintessentially hipster chain is jumping on the food truck bandwagon with a trailer unit called the CG Container stationed at Sixth Street and Franklin Avenue.

Although the unit is not drivable like a food truck, it can be hitched to a vehicle and towed to other areas of town, said Container manager Josh Kulak.

Kulak said Common Grounds was hoping to offer customers on the downtown-side of I-35 access to Common Grounds coffee without the hassle of going under the freeway. However, the location could change in the future.

“We’re currently stationed downtown, but that’s just our temporary permanent location,” Kulak said.

Customers can expect to find all of the same products offered at the permanent Common Grounds location, with the exception of frozen coffee drinks, smoothies and a few of the candy bar flavored drinks, Kulak said.

“There are two reasons for that,” he said. “One – space, and two – we do want to focus more on the coffee in the Container. We want to try to push good espresso and good pour-over coffee.”

Waco sophomore Erin Copeland said she began visiting the Container when she worked downtown during the summer. She said the missing menu options have a negative impact on her visits.

“I definitely think they have enough on their menu,” she said. “It’s reasonable for that location. Most people in that area would probably just want a cup of coffee.”

Kulak said the new location has fared well since it opened.

“We’re really looking forward to all the students being back to see what that does to it,” he said.

The Container can be used for reasons beyond just selling products.

“We want to use it as a training space for our baristas in a controlled environment,” he said.

Kulak said the new location allows the coffee shop to reach a new market.

“People come into the Container and didn’t even know that this place existed,” he said, referring to the original location near campus. “We’re reaching a different clientele.”

A native Wacoan, Copeland said she likes the idea of Waco becoming more central to Common Grounds culture.

“It allows it to not just be a Baylor thing,” she said. “It bursts the Baylor bubble. Even though there’s no seating or the atmosphere of the Baylor CG, it’s just nice to have it there.”

The owners of Common Grounds hope to try out other areas of town in the future, Kulak said. There are even talks of regaining a presence at the farmers market, although it will most likely occur without the movable unit.

“As we’ve worked with this, we’ve realized it’s not quite as mobile as we would’ve liked it to have been,” Kulak said. “It’s not something that’s super easy to move every Saturday to the farmer’s market, but we are looking to get a presence back at the farmer’s market in the next few months, if only selling kombucha and our black and blue coffee.”

In the end, Kulak said he hopes to see the business continue to expand beyond the Baylor campus and into the surrounding Waco communities.

“We want to see Common Grounds thrive in multiple locations in Waco,” he said. “We have a great relationship with Baylor, but it’s bigger than Baylor. It’s a Waco thing.”