City Paper is not for tourists
Murky fans everywhere (well, mostly in Capitol Hill) will be happy to know that, after a lengthy process, coffee-bean buff and former Murky manager Ryan Jensen has scored the lease for the now-vacant storefront.
Barista doyen Nick Cho—who, as you undoubtedly recall, operated Murky out of the 7th Street space until the unfortunate raid of the D.C. tax office prompted by an even more unfortunate $427,000 in unpaid sales taxes—speculates that landlords Stanton Development may have selected Jensen because “they want to carry over the good things about Murky without the bad.” (The good ostensibly being serving excellent coffee, the bad, getting seized.)
Jensen, who spent three years managing Murky’s D.C. location, currently works for Counter Culture Coffee, a company that supplies beans to a number of area cafes—including Cho’s Arlington shop, which has, so far, escaped the consequences of his recent tax troubles.
Jensen is getting set to abandon his current occupational digs in order to run his new cafe, Peregrine Espresso.
“It means wanderer or pilgrim,” says the congenial 28-year-old. “It’s a word I came across a few years back. I wrote it down and have been slightly obsessed with it every since.”
Jensen says he doesn’t exactly know when the place will be up and running; there are some minor changes he’d like to make to the space, but he hopes to open by the end of summer.
Jensen and his wife, Jill Jensen—who will co-own the business—are serious coffee-lovers and felt strong connections to the Murky Coffee on Capitol Hill. Actually, they met there in the summer of 2003 and married two years later. “It’s where our romance blossomed,” Jensen says.
When the place closed down, they feared someone disinterested—or maybe someone who doesn’t love coffee as much as they do or did not meet and fall in love there—might snag the shop.
So they went for it, along with numerous other entrepreneurs, hoping to grab the valuable commercial space. When Jensen got word last week his bid was accepted, he contacted Cho before the rumor mill could. Cho and Jensen are not only former employer and employee, they’re friends.
Cho isn’t dwelling on how things turned out. He says that, for the most part, he’s ready to move on. “The more we talk about it the more misunderstandings there are,” he contends.
As City Desk reported last month, Murky’s equipment is also ready to move on—to soon-to-open Big Chair Coffee in Anacostia.
photo by peregrine espresso