Driftwood Coffee’s grand opening Feb. 24 saw the realization of a long-time dream for Old Town Peoria.
“I’ve worked towards this goal of having an upscale coffee shop and gathering place in Old Town since I first came on council 15 years ago,” said Acacia Councilmember Vicki Hunt, in whose District Old Town exists. “This is truly a happy day for folks who live and work around here.”
A for-profit upscale coffee shop, Driftwood is built adjacent to Axiom Church at the corner of 83rd Avenue and Jefferson Street in Old Town. It opened with a flourish, seeing lines out the door from opening at 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. closing. According to owners Lance Linderman and Luke Bentley, this also represents a long-time dream of theirs.
“We’ve been talking about owning our own shop, where we roast our own high-quality beans ourselves, forever,” Bentley said.
“We also wanted to create a relaxing place where neighbors and friends can hang out, have a coffee, and talk, read, or do daily devotions - basically a community gathering place,” Linderman said.
“Today’s turnout to support our opening goes beyond our dreams,” Bentley said, as he gazed out the front door at folks with their dogs, sitting, standing - getting to know each other.
“Good coffee can bring folks together,” he said.
Linderman’s reaction: “Shock. Amazement. We were busy all day right up till closing. Great response from neighborhood. There were so many naysayers who told us we could never make a coffee shop work in Old Town Peoria. We believed that this was the place God wanted us, and the turnout (at the grand opening) certainly proved them wrong.”
Sitting out front, enjoying the sunny climate, were G. Wall and Mattie, Mural Mice from Flagstaff, who are living in Old Town while painting a mural in the lobby of Theater Works.
“We are enjoying the sunshine and friendly people here in Peoria,” said G. “And to have this amazing coffee shop move in right around the corner from our apartment is the best.”
Inside, huddled around a small, round table were Peoria Police Chief Roy Minter, long-time resident Eva Osuna, and former Peoria teacher, Armando Macias.
“This will be a great place to hold small meetings,” Minter said. “It’s nice to meet in a relaxed place with a warm cup of coffee.”
Osuna referred to the fact that it’s been “a long time coming, but folks will really enjoy it.”
Other strangers became friends around the outside tables, while enjoying the sunshine and a hot cup of coffee. Even the dog seemed to sense a welcoming environment.
Hunt said, “I’m over the moon with this step forward in developing Old Town. I remember bringing a Starbucks representative to Old Town 15 years ago. The timing was not right, but now we have so many new residents, the city has invested in property, and things are really beginning to move. Lucidi’s Fire Station No. 1 was ‘first in,’ now followed by Driftwood Coffee and adjacent Axiom Church. I can’t wait to see who’s next in line to help build Old Town.”
Driftwood Coffee is open 6:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.