Getting Your Morning Shot of Kinky Friedman at Urban Dog Coffee

Categories: Roasted

Photos by Daniel Rodrigue
Urban Dog owner Brady Cottle doses a shot for Kinky.
Whether it's a morning cup of wake-up, a mid-day java jolt or a final fix of fresh-brewed for the drive home, many of us rely on our regular close-to-home/office coffee haunts to fuel us through our daily grind. And, when Roasted needs a quick perk-up but doesn't have the time to stray far from the office, Urban Dog Coffee's location on Oak Lawn makes it a natural spot for dosing up.

"We're right in the middle of a true cross section of Dallas," owner Brady Cottle tells Roasted. And, being located on Oak Lawn near the Design District, Cottle says that his shop attracts a constant stream of "colorful, eclectic personalities" from Uptown, downtown and the Park Cities. 

"We get everyone from drag queens to politicians," he says.

Last Thursday morning, when Roasted heard that Kinky Friedman was stopping at Urban Dog while stumping across Texas for agriculture commissioner, we couldn't resist having a cup with him. Which, BTW, was free for the first 150 customers during "Coffee With Kinky."

But, lest you think Urban Dog, known for its charitable work with non-profits, is offering up political perks based on party affiliation (Friedman is currently a Democrat), Cottle says last week's event was more about reflecting the "eclectic, wildly diverse political spectrum" of the shop's clientele than a certain humorist's political platform--such as it is.

The shop started as nothing more than a little kiosk tucked in the back of City Pet Supply. Eventually, the coffee-for-customers concept morphed into a full café with a pet-friendly patio. And, while it's the smell of fresh-brewed coffee and a greeting from the smiling baristas that welcome customers on most visits, it's hard to overlook the mission statement posted on the wall near the entrance.

"Welcome to good coffee doing good," the sign reads. And, Urban Dog certainly seems committed to pairing coffee with a conscience, giving a minimum of 7 percent of its daily revenue to community organizations that "do good" and help others to "live life well."

Next month, the shop plans on rolling out its new Cottage Blend. The full-bodied blend of Columbian and Guatemalan beans will cost $12.99, and $3 from every sale will go directly to Founders Cottage, a seven-bedroom home providing 24-hour care to people critically ill and dying with HIV/AIDS. Guess it shouldn't come as a surprise that Urban Dog won Best Humanitarian Hangout in Dallas Observer's Best of Dallas 2009.

Cottle says he doesn't mind the shop getting the humanitarian nod, as opposed to best coffee shop or best cappuccino.

"That's exactly where we want to be," he says. "If someone likes coffee from another coffee shop better, then I'm OK with that, because coffee is a matter of taste. With [Urban Dog] I wanted people to say that, in as much as we're about coffee, that we really are about the community and this would be known as a community coffee shop."

Yeah, yeah. Turns out, that communal spirit is how The Kinkster wound up at The Dog in the first place: His campaign manager dates one of the shop's regulars. Which is not to say that Friedman didn't enjoy the coffee. Between talking about Texas beef and Farouk Shami and what he would do if he actually became the Commish, he drank four shots in less than an hour. Makes you wonder if the coffee lobby is donating to his campaign.

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