The bakery features state-of-the-art TMB bakery equipment (ovens, retarder) and its own stone mill, installed by New American Stone Mills of Elmore, Vermont.
“Our goal is to mill 100 percent of our flour,” said Chris Matsch, who runs Ibis Bakery with his wife, Kate, speaking on site in late November. “Right now, we are milling about 1,500 pounds of flour a week for our bread program. Our base is Turkey Red wheat from central Kansas.”
The bakery’s other two retail spaces, Ibis Lenexa and Fervere, currently buy their own flour, but Chris Matsch says that milling their own flour will open future doors to new possibilities.
Further, the building at 1624 Grand has historical significance. It was built in 1919 by the local architecture firm of Smith, Rea, and Lovitt for the Bruening Brothers Automobile Company. By 1940, the building had become a Dunlop Tire dealer, evidence of which remains at the entrance of the building, which includes an original tile mosaic in the entryway. 1624 was added to the National Historic Register in 2008 as part of the Walnut Street Warehouse and Commercial Historic District. The current owners bought the building in 2014, and since have been renovating the space with Boor Bridges Architecture and DRAW Architecture to host a different kind of experience on every floor.
The new building features an open floor plan between all the different zones of the space, so that customers can see bakers and roasters at work. The first floor houses the bakery and cafe, as well as the flour mill, one of the few in-house mills in the country. On the second floor, visitors can watch Messenger’s coffee roasters, participate in coffee tastings with the team, and get a deeper experience of coffee at the slow bar. On the third floor is a reading room/quiet space, and the outdoor rooftop deck includes a fireplace.
Messenger was born in 2013 out of a desire to create a coffee roasting company that could make great coffee approachable to everyone while taking care of coffee farmers in a way that goes above and beyond the status quo. Over the years the company has moved warehouses a couple of times, growing slowly while making sure the cafes and farmers they work with are treated well and the coffee quality stays high. Messenger Cafe will serve as its headquarters for roasting operations and a flagship location to serve coffee the way they believe it should be served.