Five and Hoek Coffee is coming to 200 West Magnolia

Last week I announced the arrival of a Loyal’s Barbershop at 204 West Magnolia Avenue. This week brings news that another of three retail units in the same building, Mews II, will be taken over by Tyler and Beth Fivecoat, and their commercial cafe Five and Hoek (pronounced “hook”) at 200 West Magnolia, on the east end of the commercial space of the building. This will be Five and Hoek’s second location, with the first continuing in Wheaton, Illinois. I spoke with Tyer to find out more about the family and the business we could expect.

Tyler is from Aurora, Illinois and grew up there, about 40 miles west of Chicago. Beth grew up in Remus, Michigan. The two met at the University of Chicago at the Moody Bible Institute. After graduating and getting married in 2013, Tyler tried selling life insurance for a while, but was miserable. When their friend Erich Goepel offered to let them join him as partners in River City Rosters, which he started in 2010, they agreed.

Over the next few years the business grew and they included an additional partner for one season, their friend Aaron Hoek. The group decided to move the business to Wheaton, where that location remains, and eventually changed the name to Five and Hoek after each of their surnames. When Aaron left and moved to Chattanooga, they kept the name.

The company reverted to three owners, and Tyler said Beth acted as CEO and looked after staff and day-to-day operations. It focuses more on products including coffee, food, etc. Before the advent of the COVID-19 virus, the business grew to the point of offering baked goods and having an on-site baker. They have put together a full menu and a brunch menu.

Mews II, Future Home of Five and Hoek Coffee Shop, Knoxville, May 2022
200 West Magnolia, Future Home of Five and Hoek Coffee Shop, Knoxville, May 2022

When COVID-19 hit, they were given serious restrictions on how they had to operate. They have simplified their menu to include coffee, healthy smoothies and snacks. They reconfigured the business to be take-out only, allowing the business to continue to thrive.

Like real entrepreneurs, they also started thinking about expansion. Once the flagship location was secure, they began considering moving to another part of the country, wanting “somewhere nice and warmer. . . a place our children would love to grow up. We love the outdoors. And so the quest began. The main contenders were Chattanooga where a cousin and their friend and former partner, Aaron had settled, and Asheville, located in the heart of the mountains.

Tyler had often visited Tennessee when he was younger, visiting his grandmother who lived in Johnson City for thirty years. He said he was a lifelong Vol fan and whether or not it had to do with it, he suggested they include Knoxville in their search, which they did. They quickly knocked Asheville off the list, which Aaron said “felt a bit more touristy.”

With Beth’s approval, the couple took four long weekends to explore each town and consider its character and the business opportunities each presented. Chattanooga seemed to have grown in patches, and they loved Knoxville’s cohesive downtown. They loved the proximity to the mountains and enjoyed the pace of the city, which felt slower than their suburban Chicago. They took note of the pride local citizens seemed to take in the city, and it all added up to where they wanted to be. They and their children (Judah, five, and Erin, three) moved here a month ago.

The business they will bring is a roastery and coffee shop. They’ve been roasting their coffee on-site at the other location since 2010. Tyler said about 80% of their coffee is now marketed directly and he enjoys working with producers he knows and being able to see the product from “the seed to the cup”.

The new store will have a 20-pound roaster that will be visible from a standing bar at the back of the store. While sipping a coffee or espresso, customers can learn as much as they want about the process behind the drink. They also plan public tastings to deepen the educational aspect. This is something they did at the previous location but had to scale back in 2020.

The store is relatively large for a cafe, at around 2,000 square feet. Around the cafe-bar in the middle, seating will be distributed throughout, with a large community table in the center. Tyler’s brother-in-law makes stools for the east-facing window bar. Also included will be built-in benches and a corner bench with tables in the northwest corner of the space. The north-facing window will have tables and chairs.

The shop offers its own house blend called “caravan,” as well as an espresso blend, five decaffeinated offerings, and more than one partially caffeinated blend. They also offer (currently eight) single-origin coffees that offer unique taste notes depending on whether they were imported from Ethiopia, Honduras, or elsewhere.

Plus, they have a series called “Slow Sip Squad,” which they centered on Sasquatch just for fun (No, they don’t believe Sasquatch is real, Tyler assured me. I told him, “Don’t don’t worry, your current US rep does!”) The idea is that these are rarer varieties (like Sasquatch!), or they may involve unusual processes or famous, award-winning coffees that are hard to find. They’ll also be releasing their own cold brew coffee in cans soon, which will be available in the shop. Tyler said they’re “instantly chilled” to avoid dilution caused by ice.

They also offer “all organic, meal replacement” smoothies with recipes developed by Beth. They usually spin four or five different smoothies, including one for the kids. All ingredients are natural. Additionally, you might expect “Knox Balls”, which are about big enough for a few bits and cost $2. The emphasis is on the grab-and-go. They will also serve milkshakes, some of which are chocolate and espresso based. They hope to source milk locally for these. Finally, on the beverage menu, you’ll find teas from Chicago’s Spirit Tea, another company that sources their product directly.

Other products will be on sale at the store, including bags of whole beans (they will be ground on demand) of their coffee and their mocha caramel. All their caramels are homemade. You will also find the Spirit Tea offered on the shelf, as well as by the cup.

Tyler said they are excited to get to know the community and hope to be part of collaborative efforts with other local roasters, as they were in Chicago. He emphasized that while there is competition, he feels there is room for everyone and that they are “happy to be part of Knoxville’s already great coffee community.”

Tyler, Beth and family, co-owners of Five and Hoek

He hopes to provide a fun experience where you’ll likely see the kids running around. He said they don’t take themselves too seriously and he hopes that will be communicated in the store.

You can meet them before they open, because he said they might have some kind of pop-up events to start showing up. In any case, he hopes that you will be able to visit the shop around the beginning of September.