As multiple groups bend over backward to convince Major League Baseball to move a team to Portland, one former pro ballplayer has already made his way here—to serve coffee.
Last summer, Kevin Youkilis, who helped the Boston Red Sox win two World Series and earned the nickname “the Greek God of Walks,” opened Loma Coffee Co., a new cafe and roastery. It’s the latest venture for Youkilis, who retired from baseball in 2014 and has spent his post-playing career parlaying his beverage habits into successful businesses.
“I never really imagined myself in coffee in any way,” says Youkilis, who previously opened craft brewery Loma Brewing with his brother in their hometown of Los Gatos, Calif., in 2016. “It was just figuring out the different varieties out there and being in a great area where there’s a lot of different roasters where I could do my research.”
Loma Coffee became a reality after Youkilis, looking to open up a coffee bar at his brewpub, hooked up with Portland coffee fixture Brandon Smyth, co-founder of Water Avenue Coffee. Within months, the pair opened their storefront in Portland—in the middle of a pandemic and while the skies were hazy with wildfire smoke.
“It was not the easiest of times, in many ways,” Youkilis says, laughing.
Things have been looking up for Loma Coffee. The business is doing well enough that it’s hiring extra help, and its beans will soon be available at Market of Choice locations around the state. The next step? Expansion.
“We want to grow the brand and show off Brandon’s talents,” says Youkilis. “There’s no limits.”