Astroids — those three, star-like shapes in The American Iron and Steel Institute’s logo — represent the way metal “lightens your load,” “brightens your leisure” and “widens your world.”
Emerson Graham thinks coffee does the same thing.
At Astroid, a new café that he manages in The Highline (formerly the Terminal Building) on the South Side, the geometric figures are incorporated into the tile flooring as a nod to Pittsburgh’s industrial past.
Customers can pop into the place for drip coffee, loose leaf teas, lattes, cappuccino and more, along with Graham’s favorite — “espressive.” The four-ounce beverage is created by prolonging the espresso preparation and is calibrated for flavor clarity and drinkability, he tells us.
The long-time barista, who has worked at Ace Hotel, Constellation Coffee and Tazza D’Oro, is passionate about each cup of joe he makes.
“I’m most excited to bring great customer service and really great modern coffee to people in Pittsburgh,” Graham says. “There are a lot of really great coffee shops around here, but nobody has espressive on the menu. It’s very modern. I wanted something a little bit different and interesting for people to try.”
Astroid partners with Parlor Coffee, a Brooklyn-based roastery known for the sweetness of its products. Their organic milk comes from Trickling Springs Creamery in Chambersburg, Pa., and there is an array of pastries available from local baker Sam Cobbett.
Astroid, which opened on Dec. 12, will host restaurant pop-ups throughout the winter and will launch its own lunch program in the spring.
Operated by Beauty Shoppe, an organization that transforms historic buildings into co-working spaces, Astroid is the company’s first food and beverage program in Pittsburgh. They own a similar coffee shop called Foyer in Cleveland’s historic Ohio City neighborhood.
Beauty Shoppe is part of the revitalization of the Pittsburgh Terminal Building, a century-old structure that was once the largest cargo warehouse between New York City and Chicago.
In 2016, McKnight Realty Partners purchased the 86,000-square-foot property for $12.5 million. They’ve been transforming it into The Highline, an office and retail complex with green spaces, creative lighting, a public fitness center, bike storage and parking for 521 vehicles.
Beauty Shoppe is one of The Highline’s tenants, which also include Green Building Alliance, Dick’s Sporting Goods, and Venture Outdoors, among others. In addition to Astroid, Beauty Shoppe plans to offer maker spacesin the building for local artisans and craftspeople.
“We’re excited about the development prospects in this building and having a public face for the brand,” says Matthew Ciccone, co-founder of Beauty Shoppe.