The perfect way to start your day

Karynne Lalanne, a barista at Roost Coffee and Market, makes a coffee Tuesday morning.

MADELINE BRAUN, Mint reporter

Roost Coffee and Market has been fulfilling Pullman’s breakfast-ing needs since November of 2014, with great emphasis on local produce and a home-like feel.

For Mackenzie Yates, owner of the local breakfast hotspot, the goal of Roost is to provide the community with a place that feels like a piece of her. Yates grew up in Pullman and lived with her family on a farm. She enjoys mixing the old with the new, an esthetic she incorporated in Roost’s interior and overall mission.

“I really wanted a very open, inviting space. Something that made people feel like they were at home,” she said. “That comforting, warm feeling, as well as having a lot of greenery to bring life into the shop all year round.”

This same local, home-style mentality inspired Yates to include local produce and coffee beans in her menu. She said small business relationships are important to her.

“I don’t want to get coffee from a huge corporation,” she said. “I want it to be from somewhere where I can actually talk to the owners and the roasters.”

This small town, small business focus flows into just about every aspect of Roost. The market makes almost everything in-house, from their breakfast pastries to their coffee syrups

“I want everything to feel homemade, and have that home-goodness kind of thing that you don’t really get with a Costco muffin or something like that,” Yates said.

After conducting research and visiting other coffee shops, Yates was introduced to the idea to make her own coffee syrups. After experimentation and lots of playing around, she discovered how easy and fun it was to stock her shop with unique homemade flavors.

“We keep it as real as possible, which I think is appreciated,” she said.

Combining water, sugar and natural flavors, Roost serves eight to 10 syrup flavors for their coffee beverages. Flavors like vanilla, caramel and brown sugar are always available to add into coffee, but the shop also creates seasonal flavors, like pumpkin spice in the fall, clove in the winter and coconut in the summer, among others.

EZEKIAL NELSON | The Daily Evergreen
Latte art created by Roost Coffee and Market barista Karynne Lalanne.

Much to Yates’ surprise, lavender has become a customer-favorite syrup flavor, and lavender lattes are a best-seller.

“At first people were pretty uncertain about it, just because ‘oh, it’s like putting flowers in your coffee,’” she said. “But now that we have gotten people to try it, it has become super popular.”

These homemade coffee syrups provide great options for customers with dietary restrictions to certain preservatives, by featuring natural flavors that not many other coffee shops can provide, Yates said.

Yates only knows of a few other coffee shops in the Pacific Northwest area that take this approach to house-made syrups, something she feels really sets Roost apart.

Aside from the homemade syrups, Roost is well known for made-from-scratch breakfast pastries. Utilizing the skills of the head pastry chef, Roost sells a variety of fresh treats and sweets like hand-rolled croissants.

“People from France or other countries have come in and said ‘oh my gosh, it is so wonderful to taste something that feels like home,’ and that’s really cool to hear and see,” Yates said.

Other breakfast favorites at Roost include various types of quiche using locally-grown mushrooms and baked oatmeal served with milk and brown sugar.

In the warmer months, Roost also opens up its walk-up window and outdoor seating. Most people don’t know about this feature of the shop, Yates said.

“We have a lot of dog customers that know us very well and that is really fun,” she said. “And then we get a lot of moms with their strollers who just don’t want to go through the hassle of coming inside.”

Yates’ family owns several other retail spaces in downtown Pullman, and her father enjoys restoring old buildings and interiors. Yates’ father gave her the opportunity to start her own business in the building space and helped her with the construction side of things.

“It was just everything falling into place,” Yates said about the creation of Roost.

The most challenging part of opening a business was coming up with the perfect name, Yates said. With the help of serious brainstorming from family and friends, she eventually settled on the name. Roost was inspired by the idea of home for animals or birds, fitting with her mission to create a “home-base.”

Yates’ goal for the shop was to bring a fresh and changing venue for a town that she found often felt stagnant.

“I think I just wanted to bring some freshness to Pullman, and some new ideas and new concepts that I have seen other places,” she said.

Two years after Roost’s creation, Yates is most proud of the relationships she has been able to build with her regular customers. She said she has made friends because of the restaurant, memorizing peoples’ orders and facts about their lives.

“[I am] proudest of the following we have created since we have been open,” she said. “I have gotten to know a lot of different people in the community that I probably would have never met.”