Alameda neighbors and Australian expats Nolan and Shari Hirte plan to open Proud Mary coffee cafe later this month at 2012 N.E. Alberta St. in the Vernon neighborhood. The former home of Guy’s Interior Restoration and the Mercado Don Pancho Taqueria and Market is being redeveloped by Nate Celko and Brett Anderson into four retail spaces. Other tenants will include Imperial Bottle Shop and Bishops Barbershop. Proud Mary’s soft opening for the community is on tap for May 18 and the doors are officially scheduled to open by June 1. The Proud Mary brand has been a popular and successful enterprise in Melbourne for eight years and the Australian operation is now being run by Nolan’s brother. The Hirte family moved to the neighborhood earlier this year and their son is now enrolled at Alameda middle school.
“Portland is a great city,” said Nolan. “It already has an established coffee industry with specialty roasters – and is hailed as the ‘coffee mecca’ of the U.S. For us, that’s the best place to launch Proud Mary. When we came to Portland on a family holiday, we especially loved Alberta Street. It just felt like us. It suits our grassroots brand. We look forward to bringing the community together to celebrate the good things in life. Being Australians in Portland and a long way from home, we really hope that we can build a great community of people around us. People here have been so kind and welcoming.”
The Proud Mary coffee program will showcase coffees from farmers that Hirte has worked with for many years.
“Proud Mary Coffee is all about engaging the customer with exciting, vibrant and colorful coffees,” said Nolan. “I have a particular love for natural processed coffees. Traveling to source the best coffee helps us to keep sight of what really matters, the farmer. At origin there is a real need to make things better for all those involved in coffee production. Good coffee doesn’t happen by accident. It’s a chance for customers to feel really connected to the product, knowing that their purchase is supporting the lives of coffee farmers and their families.”
Since its Australian opening in 2009, Proud Mary has welcomed over two million customers through its doors.
“Proud Mary created excitement in the cafe and coffee industry by offering restaurant-standard food and making breakfast the new lunch,” said Nolan. “Brook Petrie, our chef, has an innovative approach to food. We are excited to discover local, sustainable and ethical Oregon producers to develop a menu that will be unique to Proud Mary in the states. We will have a handful of our favorite dishes from Australia – like our Potato Hash and Ricotta Hotcakes – on our all-day breakfast and lunch menu. Table service is a must for us. We like to take care of our customers and do the work for them. We have designed the space to have a lot of different areas to hang out – including a couple of big communal tables.”
Proud Mary’s business development director Amanda Morell is also an Australian who relocated with her family to the Alameda neighborhood two years ago and has a son at Alameda middle school.
“We love Lucca any day of the week,” said Morell. “Salt and Straw goes without saying. Matt Butler from Butler Built Construction is doing an amazing job on the Proud Mary build and we love Garden Fever for helpful tips on plants with great service. All the friendly people in our neighborhood have made us feel so at home.”
For more information, visit www.proudmarycoffee.com.