Cocoa Cinnamon on Hillsborough Road!


Update! We now have a full menu at the Hillsborough Road location with about 40% of the drink being unique to that location. It includes everything from a pour over with chocolate, turmeric & ginger inspired by Malala Yousafzai to an iced seltzer with espresso, local honey, cardamom and maca after my Great Grandfather Francesco Fontana who lived for 10 years in Tunisia. We’ll leave the rest for you to explore.


Linton Architects visualization of building as it will appear when complete.

Beta Phase – during beta phase we open for “regular” business but in our own way…something akin to a software launch.  We start with fewer hours and a small menu and add on modules and a few more artworks as we test and grow.  We will also be adding more seating, finishing some small building items (outdoor sign/cover), doing some finishing touches with aesthetics that feel better to complete in a living, unfolding shop.

Build Phase – this title may sound counter-intuitive, but for us this is our regular operations mode.  We will enter the “build” phase as post beta….which most people would call normal operations.  We never want our operations to feel “normal,” so we think of our daily activities as continual opportunities to build, research, serve and participate in our city as part of the vision we have for it, the company, our crew and community.  You can learn more about that in detail on our website…but if you’re getting this note, you probably already know what we mean.

Thank you for taking part!

Artists and Craftspeople:

David Solow of David Solow art + design — Designer, Site Specific (shop) Installation Artist, Producer, Barfronts, Cocoa Cinnamon would not be possible without David’s ability to draw out, design and orchestrate a one of a kind place. His friendship is what drew us to Durham starting back in 2001. His contribution is great and part of what makes CC unique.

Coby Linton of Linton Architects – Building Designer, Architect, Landlord, Neighbor

Maryah Smith-Overman  — made the red bar tops throughout the shop, as well as the magical realist busing station and “ladder/shelves”. She also built the upper cabinet along with Blaine Johnston.

Art Knowles of Word of Mouth Carpentry – Upper bar mahogany and wenge with hand made inlay depicting stellar/subatomic universe of energy and fixins station tree (coming) made of wenge and ambrosia maple.

Heather Gordon — Upper cabinet mural made of Heather Gordon signature design using the geo-coordinates of the history of the travel of coffee

Al Frega of Frega Creative – railroad track structure for front bike racks, railroad truss planter bases, friendship and support.

Elijah Leed of Elijah Leed Studio – built the two large table tops, four bench seats, and eight small table tops in the shop. They are oak treated with vinegar and steel wood and inlaid with brass lines and dots. The brass lines are a part of a portolan chart that ties into the one on David’s barfronts, intersecting with Durham and the place in Ethyopia wheEthiopian humans first originated. The brass dots are part of the map of the night sky at the autumnal equinox above Cocoa Cinnamon and tie into two of Luzene’s figures, who are part of the same map. Elijah also built the retail shelving unit and all of the shelving in the shop, except for Maryah’s “ladder/shelves”. Elijah was also responsible for the cutting and installation of the FSC certified cumaru for the outdoor tables, benches and planters, with help from Leon..

Art Knowles of Word of Mouth CarpentryArt Knowles of Word of Mouth Carpentry made the mahogany and wenge upper bar with inlays of dozens of different woods in hundreds of pieces depicting the bending of time and space in the stellar/sub atomic universes of energy. He made the tree with cave and tree house at the fixins station going through the upper cabinet and up into the rafters, refering to Coby Linton’s Lace Bark Elm in the courtyard. Artie also made the “tree” shelving unit in the bathroom.

Andrew Preiss of ARP Design Studio – Andrew Preiss of ARP Design Studio made the bases for the Elijah’s large table tops and bench seats. He made the hefty steel shelf brackets. He also built the steel frame structure of the outdoor benches, tables and planters.

Blaine Johnston of Red F Studiospretty much the wood Macgyver. He helped build the upper cabninet and applied the bar front panels, among other things.

Cornelio Campos – history of Cacao mural in the cupping room

Luzene Hill – Fifteen daughters of Lucy (AL 288-1) inspired star inspired beeswax figures.

“Fifteen daughters of Lucy (AL 288-1.) – natural beeswax , plus cocoa, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, turmeric and paprika for pigments.

In 1974, when the remains of “first woman” were found in Ethiopia the Beatles’ song, “Lucy in the sky with diamonds” was being played over and over at the archeaological camp. By the following day after her discovery, everyone in camp was referring to her as Lucy.

The Amharic people in the area called her Dinkinesh, which translates “you are marvelous”.

Each figure, representing the diversity of people in Durham, is unique, yet connected to the originating Lucy figure, as they scatter across the space.   This scattering mimics the dispersion of food and goods, as well as the migration of people, around the world.”

William Lum of Lum Shop – Shipping Pallet benches and layered hardwood stools (coming)

Esar Aadil – selection and design with Areli for Frida Wall

Lety AlvarezLety Alvarez made the two “pathway” paintings (bright colors, patchwork pattern like an aerial view of a landscape) on door panels panels on the Frida Wall.

Candy Carver – paintings inspired by “love for excitement, color and beauty found in the human form.”

Mark Cool – railroad tie sculptural wall (with Frega Creative) for upright bike racks

Jim Kellough made a painting on an old school map. The painting is a map of the east coast of the U.S. with Durham on the very edge of the lower left side. The “ocean” gives rise to the amygdala floating in a sea of neural connections. That’s what you get when you ask Jim to make a work about history.

Ade´ Ohmade the multimedia pieces on the door panels on the Frida Wall, with dirt, wire, metal among various other materials.

Andrius Benokraitis – sight and sound support

William Lum & Stevie Bear of Lum Shop made the pallet benches out of wood from old pallets. They have made one stool out of ten for the alcove area.  The stools are made by layering many different woods. The basic shape of the stool refers to the spools of thread at the Erwin mills.

Jackie MacLeod made the mirror in the bathroom, combining cast iron found objects and sections of copper plate that she created different patinas on.


Coming Works:

Joanne Andrews is in the process making hand-builtl pots (using colors and geometry that relate to the patterns inside the shop) for planters for the outside area. She has made two already.

Joe Galas will be making the double swinging copper doors to the dishwashing area.

Jonathan Hunsberger will be altering and telephone from 1940 (about the time the building was built). When one dials certain combination of numbers, different recordings will play. There will be a notebook for participants to share information about which combination of numbers yield particular recordings.

Chuck Pell will be installing more of his geo-historical objects installation throughout the interior and exterior spaces, inculding some arranged as a cabinet of curiosities in Maryah’s bussing station area.

Andrew Preiss  will make and install a musical instrument/sculpture.

Saleem Reshamwala will be doing a video installation.

John Schelp is loaning historic photographic postcards of old West Durham to be photographed to have large prints made and have them installed in the bathroom.

Maryah Smith-Overman will be making a table/sculpture for Jonathan Hunsberger’s phone.
David Solow will be photographing and making large prints of John Schelp’s postcards.


Craftspeople/Inner Workings:

Mike Dawson Electric – Loyal, honest character of an electrician.  AKA “Lightening Mike.”

Rik and Patty Meijer of RPM Homeworks — Epoxy work, insulation, rigging, sign and shelf installation. Incredibly helpful and fun to work with.

Thompson Joinery  – made the turquoise banquet and the blue pocket door with wood from American Tobacco (supplied by Al Frega), installed the painted panels in the bathroom and Cupping Room and did the dying and finishing of all of the retail shelving unit, the banquet and all of the shelves and interior trim. They installed the interior trim, and finished the bathroom wall, Cupping Room Wall and bar fronts. Steve Baskin provided some assistance.

David Preiss – shopbot cutting of banquette backing

Tim Peck and Alejandro of Running Waters Plumbing








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