Le Thai owners Dan Coughlin and Shauna Dong are preparing to launch a new project called Vesta Coffee Roasters at 1114 South Casino Center Boulevard with their longtime friend Jerad Howard. Howard and Dong have known each other since both were DJs on the local electronic music scene. Howard developed an appreciation for coffee while living briefly in California. And after returning to Las Vegas, his girlfriend frequently returned from business trips to San Francisco with bags of coffee.
“We were trying to get coffee in town,” Howard explains, “and there just wasn’t a good supply of good high-end coffee. So I started teaching myself how to roast [beans]. I’m studying right now to get my Q Grader license, which is kind of like a sommelier for coffee.”
As Howard was learning to roast, he began sharing his beans with Coughlin and Dong. “And I was highly interested,” Coughlin says. “I said, ‘Let’s do a coffee-roasting spot.’”
At Vesta, Howard will import and roast his own beans, selling them to both coffee houses and the general public. But the space will also serve as a coffee shop where guests can relax, enjoy a cup or two of the product and sample food from a limited menu.
The retail space will seat approximately 42 people. The team is promising free wifi and ample electrical outlets for those who want to hang out for a while and use the Internet. And while no entertainment is planned, they’re hoping it will become a gathering spot for the Arts District.
“There are a lot of studies that show that coffee shops are community hubs and help the neighborhood,” Howard says. “And I fully believe that.”
The menu will be fairly simple. It will include waffles, pressed sandwiches and salads. “We don’t want to overshadow the coffee,” Howard says of the cuisine.
The team hopes to open the doors to Vesta during the second week of November.