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Vested Coffee Brews Onyx and Hospitality in City Core

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2 minute read

By Kevin Collison

On the surface, Vested Coffee takes its name from its location in the Garment District, an item produced as part of the huge clothing industry once centered in the historic area.

But the coffee shop at 310 W. Eighth St. and its companion outlet on Troost in the 2501 Beacon Hill apartment development, also means its owners have a vested interest being part of the urban core revival.

“We though this as the coolest street in Kansas City,” said owner Susan Dees. “There’s a pocket of such rich history in the Garment District.”

The location on West Eighth is on the first floor of one of a 120 year-old building in the District, the Troost branch is on the first floor of an apartment building that opened only a couple years ago.

Vested Coffee’s outdoor courtyard helped the fledgling business weather the Covid pandemic.

Both however, share Vested’s commitment to great coffee and service.

The coffee is provided by Onyx Coffee Lab, a famed bean producer based in northwest Arkansas. The hospitality is a product of Dees and her husband’s background in Christian ministry at the Summit Church in Lee’s Summit.

“Customer service is important,” Dees said. “We want to bring you your drink, come back to check on you and bus the table.”

As for Onyx, the couple became familiar with the producer while their daughter and son-and-law attended the University of Arkansas.

“He was a barista and he introduced us to the owners,” she said. “We’re the only coffee shop that’s exclusively with Onyx. They call us their Kansas City flagship.”

The Garment District location features a cozy nook with furniture retrieved and refurbished from Dees’ garage.

Onyx not only produces the beans for Vested Coffee, but trains the staff as well. That formula has helped the shop win top reviews on Yelp!.

The Garment District location was once the home of Scratch bakery, which continues to supply baked goods for the coffee shops.

The brick interior with its old linoleum floor was rough when Dees found it four years ago and required some remodeling and a design overhaul.

Covid put a damper on operations soon after it opened, forcing the owners to get creative and sell their coffee drinks through a service window. Fortunately there is some outdoor seating in an adjoining small courtyard.

The Vested Coffee location at 2501 Troost features an Airstream trailer.

The second location on Troost, which opened two years ago, was basically finished by the landlord and in a twist, features an Airstream trailer parked inside where you order your coffee and food.

“The Troost vibe is very urban and sleek,” she said. “Our customers are lots of students from UMKC. Our customers in the Garment District are a little more professional, people who own lofts.”

The shops also draw suburban visitors. One of the crowed favorites is the Onyx Delight, a latte with honey, cinnamon and vanilla.

Hours at the West Eighth shop are Monday through Friday, 6:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., Saturday and Sunday, 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. The Troost location hours are Monday through Friday, 6:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., and Saturday, 7 a.m. to 2 p.m.

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