At Start, It's Always Pumpkin Spice Latte Season.
Welcome to Unfiltered, our weekly feature that explores the Dallas coffee scene — and how it often manages to thrive in the most unusual places. Given that we live in a time when Starbucks locations are about as prevalent as the golden McDonald's arches, when new coffee shops seem to open every other week and when almost everyone uses a ChemEx to brew their coffee, we're here to show you some alternatives — for when your coffee shop routine becomes monotonous or when you're just looking for something different in your caffeine endeavors.
4023 Lemmon Avenue/4814 Greenville Avenue.
It used to be that the biggest indicators of fall were signs for back-to-school specials and tinges of cooler weather.
But, somewhere along the way, the season became synonymous with all things pumpkin spice and the soonest available times when the flavor could be procured. But while the Starbucks faithful around the country mourn the prolonged advent of PSL season (STRAWBERRY SHORTCAKE AND BLACKBERRIES & CREAM ARE NOT VIABLE SUBSTITUTES), pumpkin-loving Dallasites can rest easy knowing that a year-round solution for their pumpkin spice cravings exists at Start.
At its two locations — one on Greenville Avenue and the other on Lemmon Avenue –pumpkin spice is a daily item on the healthy fast food venture's menu.
“Enough of our guests asked us to offer it year-round,” says owner Erin McKool. “If we were going to offer flavored lattes, we had to include pumpkin.”
Start makes its pumpkin spice in-house by simmering pumpkin, organic sugar and other spices together, then straining the syrup to remove the pulp. The result is a more authentic flavor than the Starbucks take, one without all of the artificial sticky-sweetness.
As for the actual coffee, the restaurant goes beyond the standard instant offerings of fast food joints with its dedicated coffee bar, and its locally sourced beans from Full City Rooster. Coffees are rotated seasonally, with current features coming from Peru for drip and espresso, and a mountain-water processed decaf that hails from Buena Vista, Mexico.
Overall, Start's coffees are along the lines of what you aim for in a morning cup — full-bodied, but balanced, with enough hints of chocolate and honey that pair well with items like a maple-cherry pecan granola cereal that's served with organic milk. Since breakfast is one of the main components of Start's vision, it was only natural to feature coffee alongside the offerings. And, for McKool, this meant serving a product that lived up to her personal standards.
“I have always been picky about the coffee I choose for home,” she says, “so it was important that I serve high quality coffee to our guests.”