SOUTH AUSTIN, TX (EARTH) – In the beginning, it’s believed that God created the heavens and the Earth. Amidst a pandemic, we’re now pretty sure he created coffee and beer too. In the live music capital of this Earth, co-owners Paul Oveisi and Patrick Dean have created their own little oasis in the foothills of beer & taco heaven, right off of famous South Congress Avenue in Austin, Texas. Therein lies Cosmic Coffee & Beer Garden, the eclectic brainchild of two service & hospitality industry veterans. The cafe is a unique blend of flavors influenced by Patrick and Paul’s roots in El Paso & West Texas, San Diego & Southern California, and a particularly lively vibe that has an unmistakably Tijuana feel to it.
With a carefully cultivated obsession for permaculture, sustainability, and regenerative systems, the cafe hosts a variety of natural attractions and streams of entertainment. This “Garden of Eatin” is a nationally recognized Wildlife Habitat, featuring regenerative ecosystems blooming with everything from a chicken coop and koi-filled biological pond with a waterfall, to a fully functional vegetable garden. Cosmic offers Austin live music, famed food trailers, a full-range alcohol and coffee bar, and just about anything your hippie heart could desire.
Here’s your chance to meet the minds behind the slice-of-life cafe that is Cosmic Coffee & Beer Garden:
What is Cosmic Coffee’s origin?
– PAUL: “We have been in the hospitality and service industry for years, and as we got older, we kind of wanted to get away from the traditional bar scene. Me and Patrick each have kids, and we were tired of getting home at like 3:00 or 4:00 in the morning.”
– PATRICK: “We’ve been here for 3 years, in our 4th year now, and took a little while for us to build this out. This wasn’t a food and beverage place to begin with, so we put a lot of ourselves into it to integrate the business with nature.”PAUL: “It comes from a little bit of everything. It certainly has a West Texas, El Paso, San Diego, and even a Tijuana feel to it. We wanted to have a vibrant coffee scene, bar scene, including a non-alcoholic scene, and generally a very vibrant daytime atmosphere. We just wanted to offer an elevated experience- a little more love put into it all – the drinks, the outdoor atmosphere really – it’s what we’re all about.”
What brought you to Austin?
– PATRICK: “When I moved to Austin I came for school and worked in the bar business. School during the day, bar business at night, and I loved it. At some point after working for my company for some length of time, I asked the investors’ ownership and asked if I could be a partner. When they told me no, I went to work in the car business at a Ford dealership close in Bastrop, to see if I liked the family business. I did that for a little bit and was successful at it, but after moving around a few times at different locations, I decided I was going to be out.”
– Out of the car business?
– PATRICK: “I mean I loved it for that time, and I found success with it, but it just wasn’t my thing. I realized that I didn’t wake up happy, I didn’t go to sleep happy.”
– And now you do go to sleep happy?
– PATRICK: “Oh yeah! For sure. My other love is the music business and I got into it for a long time doing business management for bands, the tour bus business, all that. That’s how I met Paul actually. He was up there living in New York at the time, and we stayed in touch.”
What was Cosmic before y’all moved in?
– PATRICK: “It was a sort of automotive repair type of place. We were looking for a spot for our current concept, and it’s actually just… perfect.”
– PAUL: “We wanted the ability to embrace nature. We planted these trees, we have these water features. And we’re a nationally recognized Wildlife Habitat. We capture rainwater, we irrigate everything. We compost on-site. We got the chicken coop over here, very fun to look at, but they also play a part in processing our garden waste. We can harvest our waste products and fertilize them, adding them back into the ground. The intent is to leave this place better than we found it. To be a high-volume hospitality environment while being mindful of the Earth that we’re on is our identity.
If somebody told you back then that, “Hey there’s going to be a pandemic in a few years, you’re going to be lucky to have a place that’s primarily outdoors.” That timing is really something.
– PAUL: “Yeah… we got lucky on that.”PATRICK: “We were done with that [night scene]. We wanted more of a daytime concept, and Paul really immersed himself in the permaculture world. We wanted to bring a garden aspect to the concrete jungle that Austin is becoming.”
– Personally, I don’t go anywhere that doesn’t have a patio anymore!
– PAUL: “Me neither. We get a lot of people that tell us this is one of the only places they go during the pandemic. We have even more reason to embrace it. Remember the smoking ban? It’s kind of like that! For our next location, I think we’re gonna be non-smoking. We might lose some people, but we might gain some people too. The generation coming up too… fewer smokers.”
You mentioned your drinks, it’s not just coffee and beer, is it?
– PAUL: “We’ve got a very vibrant cocktail program like our frozen boozy coffee. That thing is wildly popular, we didn’t know that was coming, but it’s our number one seller. It’s a mix of espresso, horchata, mezcal, dairy… you drink?”
– Uhhh yeah!
– PAUL: “Some of our musicians accuse us of putting “crack” in the boozy coffee because it’s so addictive! But I promise, no jitters haha!”
Anything for the growing non-alcoholic population of Austin?
– PAUL: “Oh yeah. Our NA program (Non-Alcoholic) can serve you up a “Frozen Macha Painkiller”, some high-end sparkling waters. That’s another thing we’ve experienced – people want to enjoy the love put into a cocktail – without the booze.”
You guys have food as well, right?
– PAUL: “Yep, three food trucks behind you there. We worked out deals with them and we have held good long relationships for some time now. Pueblo is one of them for example, they have multiple locations, but they have some of their highest volumes and do well here, so I think they’re happy for the opportunity, and we’re happy to have asked them out here.”
– PATRICK: “Leroy Lewis, Paul knew, I went on the search for another taco truck. I got with Pueblo Viejo, talked them into coming here, they were off Caesar Chavez. Then Tommy Want Wingy, they were some more El Paso boys that I knew, so I went to them and asked if they wanted to come here, and now we’ve got all three of them alive and kickin’ here!”
That must have been a great day for them for someone like you with an establishment to ask them to be part of this. That must have meant an entrance into their possibly bigger futures!
– PATRICK: “Yeah I’d probably argue they’re the three busiest food trucks in Austin. They do a lot of business. For the last five or six years, Tommy Want Wingy, our El Paso boys, have actually been Number 1 for Wings in Austin.
Cosmic Coffee is home to several well-loved Austin food trailers: new-school BBQ spot LeRoy & Lewis, taco-focused Pueblo Viejo, and chicken wing truck Tommy Want Wingy.
You guys get live musicians to come out here – how’d you manage that?
– PAUL: ”Being in Austin for so long now, I’ve gotten to know the music community and the music management side of things, so I actually managed some bands too, so it’s not just coffee, we usually have a really vibrant music program here at Cosmic. We’ve got a stage inside, we’ve got outdoor stages over there in that front yard. During South by Southwest, we bring in a large festival-type stage.
– Any major bands?
PATRICK: “Yeah some of the Texas country bands. One of them, The Dirty River Boys, Corey Morrow, just to name a few.”
– Real country then, right?
– PATRICK: “Texas country, what we like to call it. More of a rock n’ roll style. The Dirty River Boys, from El Paso, and they wrote a song, “Down By The River”, that should be in a bunch of upcoming movies.”
You mentioned that you’re from El Paso, can you tell us a little more about that?
– PATRICK: “Born and raised. Most of my family is in the car business, and my father was as well. He left that to pursue his dream of being a pilot. I went to St. Clements Senior High School, raced dirt bikes, missed a lot of school. In public school, you could only miss 19 days. Most of my friends were from Coronado and Morehead, where I went to Middle School. We got a core group of friends that all stay together still to this day. Through them, and just growing up and doing our thing in El Paso I got exposed to the bar business. Also being right across from the border haha!“
– Ohh yeah haha (*laughs in El Paso*). Do you still go back home?
– PATRICK: “Yes! My mom lives there, as well as some other family members. We try to get back from time to time. We pull influences from El Paso as well. We’ll take trips and bring people who have never been to see why we make some of the decisions we do- from the drinks to the culture. We decided we wanted to do an “El Paso 915 Day” in Austin by having a big event here with the Dirty River Boys playing, brought in a big stage, had all three food trucks come and offer all their El Paso flavors to really elevate the atmosphere. Pueblo Viejo did Hatch-Green-Chile-style Burritos, the wing truck did chicos-style tacos, and the BBQ truck teamed up with Jewboy Burgers, who’s also from El Paso!”
– PAUL: “Everybody showed up in support after the shooting in El Paso happened earlier that week, and it was pretty cool to see all the El Pasoans come together and reconnect in a special way that not only El Pasoans could enjoy and be proud of, but Texans.”
When you go back to El Paso, have you seen this style of coffee shop/bar done there?
– PATRICK: “Not to this extent… yet. I get approached all the time, on a weekly basis now, to come and start one down there. Every time I go back, I am blown away by how far the hospitality business has come in the past 5 years. Most of the people just didn’t go out most nights. Everybody was home for dinner, and that was a big hurdle for the city to get over in trying to keep younger generations home. I think it’s catching up though, and we’ll see something like this there in years to come. In Austin, and during the pandemic especially, we’ve seen a lot of people not working 9-5 jobs, and or people are able to bring their laptops and hang out all day here.”
I know you guys mentioned opening a Cosmic Coffee in the East side of Austin. Is it going to be more or less the same concept, or totally different?
– PATRICK: “Pretty much the same essential concept, but we’re going to see some services that we don’t have here. So, we are going to have the outdoor concept, not quite as much space, but quite a bit still. But we’re going to have, for example, 5,500 square feet of interior space there, whereas we have 1,600 here. We’re going to add some inches for event space- live music, holidays, etc. that we just don’t have here. Of course, we’re following the guidelines closely for the relaunch of the full-size music program when it’s been declared completely safe to do so. So the two locations are going to marry each other. For those cold days, the rainy days, we’re going to be able to serve them at the new spot. The new Cosmic Coffe location is going to be two separate buildings, including an in-house, indoor, taqueria right here in Austin. We’re pulling in El Paso, Tijuana, Southern California, San Diego, West Texas area, all those flavors Paul was telling you.”
– An actual taco kitchen – a true taqueria?
– PATRICK: “Yeah, both indoor and outdoor. The real deal and feel of a taqueria.”
What’s on your music playlist here now?
– PATRICK: “All the classics that you hear right now! Here, I’m willing to give just about anything a try. We keep it very very scattered, try to curate some playlists that are all over the board. We got reggae, classic rock, old school country. If you come here at night we’ll sometimes play a classic hip hop playlist, a pre-disco funk playlist, we keep it at a healthy mix. Personally, Tyler Childers is a big one, but yeah when I’m all alone with my music, I’ll still sit and jam with my Nas Greatest Hits.”
What does Cosmic Coffee use Dyezz’s Austin Surveillance & Alarm systems for?
– PATRICK: “They do our surveillance for the overall building, our essential security basics, peace of mind, and we’re able to keep all these things out here safely when we would otherwise be worried about it.”
– PAUL: “They’re really fantastic and super responsive. They’re great when it comes to anything you might need from them and are all about customer service with us.”
For anybody in Austin that doesn’t know about Cosmic Coffee, what would you want to say to them?
– PAUL: “Man, I actually love not saying anything to them. I love discovery. Like how you discovered us. There’s something different about Cosmic Coffee that’s for everybody in Austin. Some people come here only at night, some in the mornings. Some people will only come for the cocktails. Some people prepare to be around the natural setting, bring their laptops, and work. I’d hate to pitch a whole lot. Kind of how when you go see a movie, you don’t always want to read the reviews and go in cold.””I prefer people to come here cold. Come see what they experience for themselves.”
-END OF INTERVIEW-
Eye See You Now, Inc.