The Mercantile Is Coming to Montrose, for Your Coffee Convenience

First Stop Food Mart, 3321 Stanford St., Audubon Place, Houston

A northern branch of Mercantile, the combo espresso bar and mini-mart that opened a few months ago in the Rice Village, will be opening up in the vacant First Stop Food Store spot shown above at the corner of Stanford St. and Hawthorne in Audubon Place, its owner confirmed this week. Mercantile could be described as the upscale version of Washington Ave’s Catalina Coffee (they’re run by the same owner). And that’s exactly what Houstonia‘s Katharine Shilcutt felt free to do: “Catalina Coffee is the brooding, sensitive, bookish older sister, while Mercantile is the peppy younger sister who wears Ralph Lauren and daydreams about horses and joins a sorority in college yet is no less intelligent or passionate than her sibling.” The perky youngster also carries more baked goods, groceries, and gift items on her dainty shelves.

Photo of First Stop Food Mart at 3321 Stanford St.: Swamplot inbox

Groceries in Small Packages

21 Comment

  • Maybe there will be no environmental issues or vapor intrusion from the contaminated land next door.

  • “Catalina Coffee is the brooding, sensitive, bookish older sister, while Mercantile is the peppy younger sister who wears Ralph Lauren and daydreams about horses and joins a sorority in college yet is no less intelligent or passionate than her sibling.”

    Blatant marketing attempt … wonder what their take is in this venture? It’s a lousy location in any case.

  • Seriously, Houstonia‘s Katharine Shilcutt … who talks like this????

  • I don’t think it’s a lousy location. It’s right off Montrose and Westheimer. I am sure the people in the area will stop by for craft beer and farm-to-table kinda things when not ordering coffee. Sure, it’s tucked away, but so is Blackhole.

  • Hahaha. I still maintain that quote is true, though it should be interesting to see how that Ralph Lauren aesthetic fits into the Audubon Place vibe.

  • I always saw Catalina as the scruffy but oddly brainy brother-in-law who claimed to have enlisted in the Army right before you and your wife had your first child and used it as an excuse for not visiting, but was really just working in a cannery in Alaska in the summer and working a ski lift in Park City, UT in the winter while attempting to write an anthology of science fiction short stories about the evolution of a portion of the human race into a higher species and their conflict with their lesser human descendants. Whereas Mercantile is the dependable yet at times emotionally distant cousin who went to Wharton at U Penn and became the youngest equity partner at Boston Consulting Group, only to throw it all away to open an exclusive Montessori school in Teaneck, NJ after adopting Somali triplets when his wife could not conceive. Clearly, Shilcutt doesn’t not what the fuck she is talking about.

  • Shilcutt is a food writer, and a good one at that. You’ll note she’s able to evoke some qualities of the coffee shop without writing “the coffee is good.”

  • No marketing needed, Max Gonzales of Catalina is recognized as one of Houston’s best coffee minds.

    I don’t think he’ll have any problem with the buried in a residential location if the success of Blackhole in the Castle Court neighborhood and the boom happening at Taft and Fairview is any indication.

  • Full disclosure: I went to Catalina this morning, but have no ownership interest.

  • @Old School – the town lift in Park City is awesome. It makes my timeshare ski-in/ski-out while still being able the walk the town’s night life (a big plus over other resorts). And most of the lift attendants are pretty funny stoners.

  • It will be curious to see if this coffee shop will have any ameliorating effects on the two empty and neglected (can’t call them abandoned because the owner pays the taxes) houses that sit kitty corner to this location.

    I live very close and will look forward to buying $4 apples and $2 bananas. But I may pick up a pound of Intelli’s Black Car blend every now and then to supplement my home roast. (urban hipsters!)

  • Sometimes “the coffee is good” is more effective than a twee mixed-metaphor smoothie.

  • I guess the metaphor isn’t exactly mixed, just very long.

  • The Blackhole has no competition nearby. I won’t predict the new venture will fail, but it won’t do as well as Blackhole by any means.

  • Actually, we are not affiliated with Mercantile. The owner of Catalina Coffee, Max Gonzalez (with a z at the end), also owns Amaya Roasting Co. and provides coffee consultation to the Mercantile group. We are very excited to have another excellent coffee company in Houston but wanted to take this opportunity to clarify that neither Catalina Coffee, Amaya Roasting Co. or Max Gonzalez have an ownership stake in Mercantile.

  • Maybe I could have a career then as the lowest paid food reviewer in the world.

    House of Pies: Their pie is ok.
    Ninfas: Their fajitas are good.
    59 Diner: Their food is greasy.

  • And Houston still isn’t caught up to the gourmet coffee craze…

  • When I lived in Montrose, I cycled through a series of apartments ranging from pretty decent to flat-out crappy, and the one thing they had in common was proximity to this strip center. The closest (and crappiest) was right around the corner from it, and the farthest was about a block away. Back then the convenience store was a Stop-N-Go, and the only baked goods I ever purchased there were microwave burritos at 2:30 AM, to help soak up the river of Tanqueray I’d previously ingested at Bitterman’s. I’m pretty sure that those burritos were locally-sourced from a Sysco distribution center, although the store somehow never managed to leverage its nascent locavore cred enough to remain in business.

  • I’m seriously considering Vietnamese chicken fried steak because of Ms. Shilcutt. You treat her nicely!

  • Late to the story but..
    DT: Not sure why the coffee shop would concern themselves with any ground contamination that may or may not be there. That’s typically more of a concern of a buyer. As long as Mercantile isn’t drilling a well for the water their coffee uses, they’ll be fine.
    WR: I found the “description” rather cheesy (okay, dumb, but then again whatever that type of writing style is, it’s not my thing) but disagree with the idea that this is a bad location. I live a few minutes walk, and so do a lot of others. It’ll do well. It’s an awesome location.
    Vonroach: I know the two homes your talking about. No idea why he won’t sell. Such eye sores. Oh well, he does the minimum to stay in compliance. Boarded up. Maintained yard. Taxes paid, etc