Joe Davis is creating a new neighborhood escape for families of all types and sizes with a new coffee shop on Biddle Avenue, offering beads, history and more.
“I kind of always wanted someone to own a coffee shop here,” he said. “I always thought it’d be great to have a coffee shop in the neighborhood.”
Located in the yellow and purple building on Biddle Avenue in the Regent Square area, the new shop will be called “Biddle’s Escape.” Davis, who has owned the building for about 15 years, previously owned a bead and coffee shop on South Craig Street in Oakland, which closed in February.
“I am basically bringing that store here along with its philosophy of holding artifacts and relics, along with all the beads,” he said. “I wasn’t going to do beads here, but people just love them.”
He has been planning and renovating the new Regent Square space since October. His business partner, Michael Sobkowiak, is in Costa Rica right now in search of fair trade coffee beans. Sobkowiak runs a women’s cooperative called Women of the Cloud Forest.
“They are down there working on the cooperative and searching for more beans,” Davis said.
Slated to open by the end of August, Davis said when his bead shop in Oakland closed, he received calls from customers saddened by the move. He decided to bring it back to his own neighborhood, as he lives just across the street from Biddle’s Escape.
“You can come here, make jewelry and hang out with your kids,” Davis said. “It’s a larger space to do that while on South Craig Street, the parking was miserable.”
In addition to beads and certified fair trade organic coffee, customers can also look forward to hanging out on a sizable porch that has featured a T-Rex replica in recent years, along with regular art openings, poetry readings and multimedia presentations on where they get their coffee.
Smoothies and local specialty foods also will regularly be featured at Biddle’s Escape.
Neighbors have been excitedly walking in and asking Davis when he is opening. One man walked by and shouted that he will buy a cup of coffee - or two - as soon as he opens.
“We have people asking every day,” Davis said.
A world traveler who has been to every U.S. state but Hawaii, Davis, originally of Baltimore, said he wants to bring an international flavor to Biddle Avenue, while at the same time, reveling in the neighborhood that he loves.
“I have been to 68 different countries and have been traveling since I was a younger kid,” Davis said. “I have items from all over the world.”
Some of those items will be on sale at Biddle’s Escape, including anything from Inuit art to Russian icons and some masks from his extensive collection, some of which now hang at Mad Mex restaurants throughout Pittsburgh.
“These are the best of the best from my private collection” Davis said.
Davis said he is excited to offer a neighborhood coffee shop just blocks away from
“I have seen a dramatic change in this neighborhood,” he said. “The real estate values have shot up, the neighbors have been here a long time and the new neighbors have really fixed up the properties.”
His daughter, Maryalmah, attends the in Regent Square.
“I think it’s the best community in Pittsburgh,” he said. “This neighborhood offers everything.”