When Starbucks decided to close its Cap Hill location after 25 years, Simeran Baidwan didn’t want to lose his caffeine fix.
So, the owner of Little India is getting ready to open Lil Coffea Shop, a new sister concept to his restaurant brand, at 300 E. 6th Ave. this summer.
The shop, named after the coffee plant, will serve coffee roasted by Huckleberry Roasters and breakfast and pastries from Olive & Finch. It will also offer specialty Indian drinks, such as turmeric lattes and Little India’s popular chai tea, which is sourced from India.
Starbucks operated in the unit for 25 years, before closing in May. It is one of a number of local stores that the chain has shuttered in recent months.
“Our landlord gave this immigrant family a chance 24 years ago, and now he’s given us another opportunity to create something local,” Baidwan said.
Baidwan opened Little India’s first restaurant in 1998 at 330 E. 6th Ave., right next door. Both buildings are owned by Denver-based The Robert L. Naiman Co.
When the pandemic hit, Baidwan didn’t want to furlough any of his 70 employees and used his “rainy day fund” to open two more Little India locations in West Highland and Central Park.
Baidwan said that, when Naiman approached him about the vacant Starbucks space, he decided to use the venture as another route to save his employees. He signed the lease for the former Starbucks last week and plans to open the 900-square-foot space by the beginning of August.
“We wanted to look out for our people, so we decided to get creative and never stopped thinking outside of the box,” he said.
Baidwan eventually hopes to open a cluster of Lil Coffea Shops around the area.