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Amsterdam Coffee House becoming Kreuzberg Coffee 

Kreuzberg Paso Robles

From left, Alexander Ruckendorfer, Chris Tarcon and James Whitaker stand inside their new coffee shop in downtown Paso Robles. Photo by Heather Young

Coffee house closed Sunday, reopens Feb. 12

–Owners of San Luis Obispo based Kreuzberg Coffee Company James Whitaker, Chris Tarcon and Alexander Ruckendorfer purchased Amsterdam Coffee House at 725 13th St. at the end of 2015 and took over ownership on Jan. 1. They have closed the coffee shop temporarily for a remodel and will re-open the locale as a branch of Kreuzberg later this week. The coffee shop closed Sunday at 3 p.m. and will reopen on Friday. On Saturday, Feb. 13 a grand opening celebration will be held with free drip coffee and cookies served.

Whitaker said they planned the closure to impact business the least number days as possible. They will change the interior and at the same time bring over a number of menu items from their San Luis Obispo coffee house. The interior will more closely resemble the other coffee shop they own.

Kreuzberg Paso Robles

A cappuccino at Kreuzberg is a work of art. Owner James Whitaker said that the secret to a perfect cappuccino is getting the milk hot enough to bring out the most sweetness, but not so hot that it becomes bitter. The drink is then paired with a small cookie. Photo by Heather Young

The trio owns Kreuzberg Coffee Company, which roasts the coffee beans Amsterdam Coffee House had been using for the last year. The coffee company also sells its beans to coffee shops around the county. The three started the roastery, which is located inside Kreuzberg Coffee House in downtown San Luis Obispo, in 2014.

Whitaker and Tarcon started the first coffee shop in 2010 as an experiment in a building that was slated to be torn down for the city’s Chinatown development. Whitaker said they took out a month-to-month lease to see what would happen, not expecting it to last this long. After 10 months on Monterey Street, they moved to their current location at 685 Higuera St., in a large store front that used to house a Chinese restaurant.

The two were inspired by the time they spent in Germany in coffee shops. Whitaker lived in Germany for two years and Tarcon went to visit. The two spent their days, and nights, at coffee shops around Germany, especially in Kreuzberg, a neighborhood in Berlin.

“You see incredibly hip concepts [there], you want to take these concepts to your hometown because they don’t have it,” Whitaker said. “They become cultural hubs,” Tarcon said.

In Germany, both Tarcon and Whitaker were working as freelance web designers so would set up shop, so to speak, in a coffee shop eating breakfast and lunch there while enjoying coffee. “Sometimes we’d find ourselves at one cafe all day and all night,” Tarcon said.

Whitaker added that the business models they saw in Germany were coffee shops that would become night clubs, or that would offer something else in the evening.

After the started their first business in SLO, Whitaker and Tarcon then bought Batch, a small store front making custom ice cream sandwiches with fresh made cookies and ice cream, across from Big Sky Café at 1108 Broad St. A small Batch will be put into the Paso Robles coffee shop with window service at the door to the left of the main entrance. The owners said Batch won’t be open right away, but they hope to have it up and running by spring. The duo also owns Bowl’d, which make acai bowls and smoothies, at 1028 Chorro St.

With all of their businesses in downtown SLO, Whitaker said they’d been looking to open a second coffee shop somewhere else, so when the previous owners of Amsterdam approached them about buying the business, the timing was right.

“We’ve been fans of Amsterdam,” Whitaker said, adding that the location in downtown Paso Robles is perfect. The coffee shop will be open daily from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Whitaker said it is a bit of change from previous hours when the business opened at 6 a.m.

“We may change it based on customer demands and events,” Whitaker said, adding that they want to have open mic nights and live music at sometime in the future.

Kreuzberg Paso Robles

This is what Kreuzberg, formerly Amsterdam Coffee House, will look like when work is complete at the end of this week. Design by Chris Tarcon

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