Looking for a locally owned coffee shop in the suburbs of Kansas City can sometimes feel like looking for a needle in a haystack. So when you find one that checks all the boxes, it's cause for celebration – and a cappuccino.
Located in the middle of the Metcalf 127 Shopping Center at 126th and Metcalf, Pilgrim Coffee Co. is now setting the coffee bar high in Overland Park.
Chip and Mary Tollie opened Pilgrim Coffee at the end of last year with Chip's parents, Bud and Nancy Tollie, and his sister and brother-in-law, Lesilee and Jeff Stevens. A true family business, Pilgrim Coffee was a group effort, with everyone playing a part to help get the place open.
Other family members have also stepped in and offered their support and professional guidance on the project. Chip’s nephew Tanner Stevens helped found Quay Coffee in Kansas City's River Market before going on to open Post Coffee Co. in Lee’s Summit with Levi Holland. He's supplying Pilgrim Coffee Co. with Post coffee beans, and also introduced the company to his architect, Shane Fowler of MindMade, who helped build out the new Pilgrim shop.
Fowler, who also designed the stunning Monarch Coffee space, worked with the Pilgrim owners to create a homelike environment that is comfortable and welcoming. The well-appointed space is Instagram-worthy, with clean white walls set off by black colonial pendant lights that serve as a neutral back drop for the barista coffee bar. The roomy 3,000-square-foot shop can seat up to 100 people, including a private room for 10 people, social coffee bar seating and some soft lounge seating in the back.
“I love that you can look around the dining room and see people of all ages enjoying this space,” Chip says. “We thought we wanted a drive-thru for volume, but we decided if we couldn’t have that we would make up for it with a bigger, more flexible space.”
The Tollies also invested in some serious coffee-making equipment, opting to go with a more unusual espresso machine from the Netherlands producer Kees Van Der Westen. The sides of the machine feature Pilgrim's mascot, the buffalo, imprinted on custom wood panels. “No one has an espresso machine like ours in Kansas City right now,” Chip says. “We wanted something that would set our shop apart, and those who work in the coffee industry know and appreciate this machine.”
Pilgrim Coffee Co. serves a straightforward drink menu. In addition to a traditional espresso menu, the shop boasts offerings from Shang Tea, a local tea business with family-owned tea farms in Asia and a tasting room in Crown Center.
“We keep a slim menu on purpose, so we can do what we do, and do it well,” says Mary. “All of our syrups are all made in house from fresh herbs like rosemary and mint, and we have an orange spiced syrup that is popular.”
Pilgrim uses KYYA chocolates out of Elm Springs, Arkansas, to make the base of its hot cocoa and mochas. Those chocolate bars are also for sale, along with logoed mugs and Pilgrim Coffee Co. T-shirts and bags of Post Coffee beans.
The pastry case features pop-tarts, cookies, muffins and pastries from Scratch Bakery, as well as gluten-free cinnamon rolls from Emily Kate’s Bakery. “I am testing out healthier options like adding protein balls to our food menu, and perhaps a couple of sandwiches or a slice of quiche to our menu later on. It will just depend on what our guests want,” explains Mary.
What Pilgrim customers are going to want most, however, is more locations for this friendly, family-run coffee operation.
Pilgrim Coffee Co., 12643 Metcalf Ave. Overland Park, Kansas, 913.258.5415, pilgrimcoffeecompany.com