500 San Marcos (map) 512-943-0963
To outsiders, Austin's appeal is obvious: cool, dry summers with world-class fly-fishing; snowbound winters with world-class skiing… wait, that's Aspen.
Seriously, Austin's appeal is well-known and widespread. In fact, we can confirm its reputation as a casual, friendly town based on our experience since moving here in 2003. But Austin possesses many subtle charms that reveal themselves over time. Creative pursuits are encouraged, local arts are supported, good food and drink are celebrated, and nature is enjoyed — righteous attributes all.
After setting up house here in south central Austin, we started exploring both mutual and personal interests — education and fine art (Sarah); music and retail (Joshua). We actually know a little about the entrepreneurial itch — after relocating to San Francisco from Oklahoma in 2001, we helped open the Subterranean Shoe Room. Both a bricks-and-mortar and online store, the Shoe Room quickly blew up, thanks to its reputation for cutting-edge kicks. But it was the store's success with the locals that was particularly sweet. Amazingly, it became a hangout for a large, loyal group of friends and customers — a real blast for us.
After moving to Texas, we knew we wanted to start … something. So we began to plan. Step one, list all the non-negotiable elements for the business we hoped to create: spontaneity, surprise, social intercourse, much art (to meet and support artists, writers and musicians) and daily dealings with the denizens of Austin. Step two, close our eyes, hold our breath and take a giant leap!
Ergo, Progress Coffee — a place for food, beverage, art, music and magazines where you can eat, drink, look, listen, read — and hang out for as long as you want.
We settled on the central east side for several reasons: proximity to downtown, predictions of growth, support from an enthusiastic landlord, and even a nostalgia factor — the area reminds us of our old Mission neighborhood in San Francisco. Then, with donations of time and sweat-equity from selfless friends, we converted part of a 1942 warehouse into a paragon of Progress. Conceptually, we wanted the café to have a sophisticated, contemporary look and a comfortable, inviting feel.
How's the fare? Our coffee is fair trade, organic, shade-grown and custom roasted by hand in small batches. Our food is local and organic, prepared fresh daily (Weekly lunch menus are posted at Progress and in the LUNCH section on this site.) We use only fresh, seasonal ingredients, meaning you'll always find something new to dine on at Progress.
So if you're looking for something other than typical fare, make Progress a daily destination — relax, be creative and above all, enjoy.
— Joshua & Sarah Bingaman
P.S. Tell your friends.
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