By Rick Hinton
The Mocha Nut Coffee Shop, 1625 E. Southport Road, is open for business. The stand-alone shop occupies the former Acropolis Greek American Restaurant and has been open since June. By the look of the number of vehicles in the parking lot at any given time of the day, you would think it has been open for years.
Seth Weber and mother Marnie Weber are the proprietors. Seth’s father did much of the transformation of the interior of the building. It was a family affair. Someone described walking into Mocha Nut as “farmhouse modern” and most often the wood and brick interior is filled with customers chatting, reading, on their phones or computers. There’s plenty of seating at window countertops, small tables, comfy chairs and outdoor seats. And of course, drinking coffee is at the top of the list.
“We looked at several different spots for our business,” Seth said. “We found this building and got it for a good price.” The family is from the Southside (Marnie graduated from Southport High School in the 1980s) and wanted to connect with those on the Southside. “We wanted a business where we could get to know the community and the people, and a coffee shop was a great atmosphere for doing that.” The slow pace and being more relational were key components to their business plan.
Prior to opening there was a lot of reconstruction and reconfiguration to the interior. The only memories of the former Greek restaurant are the outside facade and the dual door entryway. Seth, from his former tenure at McAlister’s Deli as a general manager, has learned a few things about restaurant operations that come in handy as far as calculating food costs, menu pricing and staffing employees. If you build it, they will come. And they have! “Success to us is getting to know those in the community and building relationships,” Seth stated. “The two biggest things we want to pay attention to is that we have high quality product items and putting forth the effort of being relational I think that is missing in a lot of places today.”
The atmosphere in Mocha Nut Coffee Shop is modern and fresh, conducive to meeting other people, or as Seth claims, “a chance for us to meet you.” It is a relaxing atmosphere, much like that found in college campus coffee shops. It doesn’t feel rushed. The reception has been humbling, with numerous positive reviews: “The decor and atmosphere are awesome and very comfortable.” “The service was amazing!” “This was one of the most welcoming businesses I’ve ever experienced.”
Mocha Nut offers traditional espresso drinks, coffee, tea, a display case of baked goods and cooler of soft drinks. Something for everyone. Seth Weber’s mission statement is simple – “To have a positive impact in whatever way we can.”
The Mocha Nut Coffee Shop’s hours are Monday thru Friday 6-6, Saturday 7-6, closed Sunday.