Good brews Roosting

BY BROOKELYNN GRADITI | Evergreen reporter

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An array of homemade pastries, the light chatter of customers, and the sweet smell of freshly-brewed coffee fills the air of Pullman’s newest coffee hub.

A young local entrepreneur with goals of opening a coffee shop brought her dream to life in Pullman, when Roost Coffee, located in the bottom floor of the Bell Tower, opened only Nov. 7, satisfying coffee lovers’ cravings ever since.

Roost is the product of WSU and UI alumna Mackenzie Yates’ hard work and perseverance. Mackenzie’s mother, Debbie Yates, said her daughter has always wanted to own a coffee shop and bring craft coffee to Pullman.

“Like opening any new business, it wasn’t easy,” Debbie said. “But our family has owned different businesses, so she’s always been around entrepreneurship.”

Employee Meredith Brown, WSU junior sociology and comparative ethnic studies major, said the uniquely special details of Roost have made her fall in love with her job.

One of those details is the spread of all the homemade baked goods and various food items Roost offers. Yates’ mother bakes all the items, including baked oatmeal, granola, quiche, and a selection of pastries.  

The assortment of baked goods is what makes Roost unique, said Abby Hughes, a sophomore speech and hearing sciences major and frequenter of Roost Coffee.

“The pastries are made each morning in the oven upstairs,” Brown said. “And she (Mackenzie) has handmade all of her syrups, making sure the taste is fresh and high quality.”

Although Roost has only been open for barely more than a week, the shop already had a regular, an elderly man named Kevin who comes in almost every day for a cinnamon roll, Brown said.

Mackenzie’s homemade syrups are aspect of Roost customers can be excited about, as well as the fresh and locally-grown ingredients Roost uses for their coffee and food. Roost offers all the usual syrup flavors, but a favorite is its unique lavender-flavored latte.

“Everything that we can make ourselves, we do,” Debbie said.

Debbie said her daughter tries to buy everything fresh and local. For example, Roost always has Land Grove coffee out of Troy, Idaho, and each month, Roost features a new Northwest roaster.

Opening Roost was a long process, but business is now booming, said Katie McWilliams, Roost employee and Mackenzie’s friend. Mackenzie works more than 14 hours a day to train employees and improve the coffee shop, she said.

“The night before opening day, we didn’t even have a counter,” McWilliams said. “But I think people are excited to have more craft coffee in Pullman.”

Mackenzie is still working on adding the finishing touches to her coffee shop, including offering some Gluten-free selections and lunch items, such as fresh sandwiches, in December.  

Mackenzie also hopes to get outdoor heaters for Roost, so customers can enjoy their treats on the patio during the winter, McWilliams said.

“This place not only crafts great beverages but a great experience. Mackenzie has thought of absolutely everything,” Brown said. “She has made a place that feels like a home. It’s bright, warm, eclectic, and so cute.”

Brown described the coffee shop as a perfect mix of modern and vintage, which makes it the perfect addition to Pullman.

“It’s the place to go in Pullman if you want a lovely and high-quality experience,” Brown said.

Roost opens Monday through Saturday at 7 a.m., and Sunday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Weekday closing hours are still being set.

“What impressed me about Roost was its warm, cozy environment,” Hughes said. “It’s in a nice little corner of the Bell Tower, where the smell of coffee hits every single corner and invites you to stay longer.”