Daily Press Opens Cafe in South Williamsburg

By Mary Emily O'Hara on January 6, 2014 7:33am 

WILLIAMSBURG — A new coffee shop is taking its local history as seriously as its roasts.

The Daily Press, which recently opened its second cafe after debuting in Bed-Stuy, is paying homage to its South Williamsburg surroundings with a nod to its past.

"The press tells the history of a neighborhood," said Daily Press owner Michael Zawacki, 30, of his newest venture at the corner of South Third and Havemeyer streets. "It's a double entendre. We started out doing French press coffee." 

The other "press" refers to Zawacki's interest in promoting local history through his cafes, the first of which opened in 2011.

At Daily Press's new outpost — which he opened with new partner Matthew Chamoff on Nov. 22 — neighborhood trivia is stamped on the side of patrons' paper to-go cups. There are four stamps for each cafe, featuring factoids such as: "Havemeyer, Townsend, and Company built what is now the Domino Sugar Factory in 1857."

And what's inside the cup is hardly an afterthought. 

Daily Press uses Bed Stuy-based Kitten roasters for all its house drip coffee and espresso, and also offers a rotating selection of guest roasts from companies like Irving Farm, Toby's Estate Coffee, Ceremony and Intelligensia.

"I went to the library and did research on the area," recalled Zawacki of the days just before he opened the Bed-Stuy outpost in May 2011. He had just won second place in the Brooklyn Public Library's business plan competition Brooklyn Power-Up, earning him $5,000 in seed money. Zawacki, a native of Beaverton, Ore., had dreamed of opening a coffee business since he moved to Bed-Stuy in 2006.

"There was definitely a lack of services in Bed-Stuy," Zawacki said. "And a lot of new people are moving to these neighborhoods all the time. I thought it would be cool to have a history-themed business that worked off the community."

But if customers just want a cup of quality coffee and "don't care about the history, that's OK, too," Zawacki said.

The Havemeyer Street shop, in a tiny storefont sandwiched between hair and nail salons, also sells books about Williamsburg history and features old tax photos of the building, which Zawacki ordered from the Department of Records.

When not browsing local history, customers can wash down their java with baked goods from Ceci Cela, vegan and gluten-free treats from Clementine, and yogurt shakes from Culture.

And while the new Daily Press is just out of the soft-opening stage, Zawacki is already plotting a citywide expansion.

"I'd like to have between three to five places within the next five years," he said. "So far, I have two."

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