Indianapolis-based Tinker Coffee Co. celebrated its first café location at Indianapolis International Airport on Wednesday. And on Friday they will open their second location, this one in the AMP Food Hall in the 16 Tech Innovation District.
The 900-square-foot cafe in Concourse B at the airport, operated by St. Louis-based OHM Concession Group, features the debut menu of the 5 Spice Latte, which combines cinnamon, black peppercorn, Thai chilli, clove and star anise . The menu also includes pastries and sandwiches for breakfast and lunch.
The Tinker Coffee Cafe opened in late March to see the shops of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament in Indianapolis, as well as trips into the spring break.
The sister brand Tinker Bistro, which serves beer, wine and small plates, will be launched in August at the airport, but along Concourse A. The tinker spots are part of the airport’s effort to encourage more local businesses with its franchise refreshment initiative, said Mario Rodriguez. Managing Director of the Indianapolis Airport Authority.
“There’s a place for Starbucks, but we’re focused on making sure our local products, which are amazing, are on an equal footing,” said Rodriguez. “Our main focus is making sure our community is better. There is no better way than helping the locals. ”
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Other local brands along the way include SSP America’s Bub’s Burgers and Ice Cream, HotBox Pizza, and The Farmers’ Market, which sells products from across the state. Huse Culinary’s Harry & Izzy concept at the airport, also operated by SSP, will double its current size. Sun King Brewery has had a presence at the airport since October with the opening of a taproom operated by SSP America.
Additionally, the New York-based Shake Shack, which was slated to open in the summer of 2020, is still a work in progress at the terminal, although it is unclear when it will open.
Around 5 million passengers passed Indianapolis International Airport in 2020, a steep, pandemic-induced drop from 9.5 million travelers in 2019, Rodriguez said.
Some concessions will remain closed from the height of the pandemic, but will come back into service as airport traffic increases.
Despite the lower passenger traffic, the new location is still a big exposure for Tinker Coffee, said co-founder Steve Hall.
“It’s a great opportunity to meet a lot of people. Maybe a lot of people who have no contact with specialty coffees, ”said Hall.
Another new location
On Friday, Tinker Coffee will be one of the few vendors to open in the AMP Food Hall in 16 Tech Innovation District, 1220 Waterway Blvd.
The menu there will be different than at the airport. An AMP sandwich includes ham, egg, cheese, and strawberry-rhubarb jam. Another brings allspice cheese and tomatoes into the mix.
Hall said Tinker will keep AMP sandwich prices below $ 6.
“We’re trying to make it accessible to everyone,” Hall said. “We don’t want price to be a reason people think they can’t go into a specialty coffee shop. Some of the best coffees in the world are pretty affordable. We want to bring more people into the tent. “
Hall and his brother-in-law Jeff Johnson founded the Tinker Coffee Company in 2014. They bought an old roaster and set up a business in a small shop at the top of the Herron Morton area before outgrowing this room and moving to their current location in 2018.
“We were passionate about finding great coffee and bringing it to the people in our community,” said Johnson.
Previously, Tinker Coffee was available in bags online and in the roastery at 1125 W. 16th St., which also held pop-ups with drinks last summer. Cafes and restaurants across the city use their beans to brew drinks for customers.
The company, which grew by around 40 percent from 2018 to 2019, is looking for new cafés in other locations.
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Contact IndyStar reporter Cheryl V. Jackson at [email protected] or 317-444-6264. Follow her on Twitter: @cherylvjackson.