Murray Street Coffee Shop Is Everything a Coffee Shop Was Meant to Be

Categories: Coffee

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One-time barista Liz Goulding drinks coffee around Dallas so her head doesn't hurt and so she can help keep yours from hurting, too. Got a place to suggest? Leave it in the comments.

If there is anything people love in Dallas, it's new stuff. New is shiny and exciting and lends itself to being written about. Murray Street Coffee isn't new. In fact, it's eight years old, which is 156 in Dallas years. It's tucked into the corner of Main and Murray Street on the backside of Deep Ellum and does its thing, serving the eclectic neighborhood it calls home. If you spend any amount of time around those parts you probably know all about Murray Street, but if you don't you probably don't.

See also: Ascension's Roasts Are Dark and its Parking Thin, but I Might Just Love It Anyway

When I arrived on a recent day, I waited patiently for a barista to appear at the counter. I could hear someone in the back so I figured that they would get back to the counter when they could. While I waited I surveyed the counter. Murray Street isn't trying to innovate. There is no Kyoto cold brew contraption displayed on the counter. They don't do pour overs. The back counter is full of syrups and bags of coffee. The front counter has giant coffee mug with the words "tip you bastards" on it, just in case you weren't sure if you should.

Minutes later, a bearded man stepped out from the kitchen and delivered food to three men sitting on a couch next to me. He then assumed his position behind the bar and took my order. I ended up with a cup of Ethiopian and Mexican mixed because the aforementioned was running low. I asked if he was the only one working and he said, "Yep, that's how we do it around here."

He could tell I was new, because he is the kind of barista who knows everyone that comes to Murray Street. A barista that takes the time to get to know their regulars is a beautiful thing. For me, coffee shops are about more than the liquid speed; they are about the people that give the space definition. The people behind the bar set the tone, and at Murray Street they definitely have tone going for them.

One taste of my drip coffee and I was instantly transported back to the days when dark roast was the norm. Murray Street is a throwback to the days before Starbucks were everywhere. Before Pumpkin Spice Lattes took over the world. Back when almost all coffee shops were local coffee shops, and they all offered bagels with cream cheese.
The coffee wasn't in my flavor wheelhouse, so I asked for a generous glug of soymilk and the barista was happy to oblige.

In high school, I fell in love with a coffee shop. It was full of funky old furniture and I drank a lot of mochas and flipped through the Wiccan books that were for sale. This was Greenville, so naturally that place didn't last long. But the feeling that I had in that space was that time didn't matter so much. If I wanted to nurse my giant sugary mug of coffee and catch up with a friend, that was okay. It's the same feeling I had while inside Murray Street. Time and time again I watched a customer come in and make small talk with the barista or nearby customer. Even I couldn't help myself, as I ran into the same neighbor I saw at Weekend, sans bowtie.

But don't think this place is all warm and cuddly. Murray Street is comfortable in its own skin and could care less about keeping up with the Coffee Jones. The note on the tip jar sets the tone, and while I felt welcome in the place, I also got the feeling that this isn't one of those places where the customer is not always right. The shop has two floors, both with a mix of table and sofa seating and an oriental rug on the bottom floor. The music was all over the place, from ambient world folk music to heavy metal, which describes the clientele as well, with some business casual thrown in the mix.

If the frills and seriousness of craft coffee intimidate or annoy you, Murray Street is the place for you. The coffee is a means to an end at Murray Street. The end being caffeine, but also the community that surrounds this neighborhood shop.

This coffee shop is good for:
- enjoying a white chocolate mocha without going to Starbucks
- becoming a regular
- staying awhile
- wearing your beanie


Location Info

Murray Street Coffee Shop

103 Murray St., Dallas, TX

Category: Restaurant

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12 comments
andresjaguilar
andresjaguilar

"One taste of my drip coffee and I was instantly transported back to the days when dark roast was the norm."

Barf.

I do like Murray Street though!

ebbynezer
ebbynezer

Very pleased to see this article today.  Murray has been my home away from home away from home for a few years now and definitely deserves all the praise it can get and then some.  


rwells138
rwells138

So happy to see this.  Great write up, and I love everything about this place, especially the people. Even the one with the beard.

douglas.davis
douglas.davis

I better come clean with the attribution, too.  I copped the "tip you bastards" from Lee Harvey's"!   It has served us a nice conversation starter over the years...

douglas.davis
douglas.davis

Thanks for the write-up!  We love the neighborhood and try our best to make living and working down here just a bit better.  BTW, not to be misled, we do staff with 2 and sometimes three people during peak serving hours.   --your Murray Street pals

monstruss
monstruss

Murray Street Coffee is the perfect neighborhood coffee shop, and the space itself is so unique and comfortable. I only wish they stayed open a little later.

Daniel
Daniel

I like this series.

(that dispensed with, puts on "Usage Dick" hat) 

You don't mean  "aforementioned," you mean "former."


P.S. Was the place you fell in love with in HS Grinders? 

bearcamp
bearcamp

@Daniel Back in the mid-90's, Grinders was located on Lowest Greenville, across from the Arcadia Theater.  Enjoyed many a cup of coffee there....served by none other than Erika Badu.

lizgoulding
lizgoulding

@Daniel I guess aforementioned could refer to either coffee. I am still working on what words mean and stuff. 


I honestly can't remember the name, but Grinders sounds wrong. Also makes me a little uncomfortable. It was such a fun place and so wrong for Greenville.

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