Coffee in his veins

Mark McGinnis

Photo by Josh Cozine

Mark McGinnis has been a coffee connoisseur since he was 13 years old—when he could finally drink it without his dad’s disapproval. From that point on, it was a good bet you could find him at a coffee shop around Chico, chatting with the baristas or reading, almost always about coffee, if not just enjoying a cup. After many of his favorite downtown coffee shops closed down, McGinnis decided the time was right to open his own, and enlisted his father, Michael, as a business partner. The duo had originally been on the hunt to buy an already-established coffee shop when, back in June, Michael found a vacant Park Avenue space and asked his son what he thought about just opening their own. For Mark it was a dream come true, and his almost lifelong obsession with the beverage culminated in the opening of 15th Street Cafe on Dec. 29, just in time to ring in the new year. Find 15th Street Cafe on Facebook, or head over to 1414 Park Ave., Ste. 120 (near Nobby’s), to check it out in person.

Why now, and why this spot?

I’ve been obsessed—well now that I’m a business owner I guess I can call it a passion—with coffee for about 25 years now, and the reality is that I wanted to do something different, and I saw … a lack of passion in the coffee business in town, so I started looking for something. I’ve lived in the Barber district for 12 of the last 20 years, and it’s my favorite neighborhood in town, and there’s never been coffee. We have to drive or ride a bike or walk downtown.

Where do you get your beans and other products?

We’re getting stuff from Equator—they’re a B Corp, which allows them a double bottom line to be socially and environmentally responsible as well as focusing on returns to investors—they’re based out of San Rafael. They make really great quality coffee, and their owners are passionate about coffee and reinvest into the communities where their coffee comes from and down the supply chain, and [they] fit in with our social views. We’re trying to get as much [other] stuff as we can from local suppliers—S&S, Tin Roof supplies the pastries, Chico Chai, Pacific Culture for kombucha, and a local coffee distributor, Six Degrees. Being a part of the community is really important.

What makes you different from other coffee shops in Chico?

I’ve been drinking coffee somewhere here in Chico every day, I know the best baristas here and I just reached out and basically hand-picked the best ones in town. We [also] have some specialty equipment to take out some of the guesswork so that it’s consistent quality and always fresh. We’re gonna have a rotating single-origin coffee through Equator, and we’re gonna eventually roast our own coffee, and those will be single-origin as well.