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Monday, April 1, 2013

Steady Hand gets the boot, plans new concept


Since opening in 2011, Steady Hand Pour House in Emory Village has served high-quality, brew-to-order coffee to the neighborhood. Owners Jordan Chambers, Dale Donchey, and Jamie Pair subleased their coffee shop on a month-to-month basis from Andy Kurlansky, longtime owner of Everybody's Pizza.

But in March, Kurlansky decided to retire after 41 years, and finalized negotiations to turn over his lease to Crawford Mann, brewmaster at 5 Seasons Brewing Company. Slice & Pint, whose lease began on April 1, will open in the former Everybody's space, but the deal also includes the 425 square-foot space Steady Hand currently occupies.

While Moran has granted Steady Hand the month of April to remain open and operating as he remodels next door, once it comes time to build out Slice & Pint's brewery in the coffee shop's location, Steady Hand will have to go.

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For the past two and a half years, Steady Hand has brought together a local clientele of all ages. But now, with a campaign headed by #shph4life, they're asking for community support to help them find a new home.

For Donchey, however, getting the boot may be a "blessing behind a kick in the balls," he says. Already planning to open a separate roastery, Donchey, Pair, and Chambers are now developing what will be Atlanta's first roastery and coffeeshop hybrid. "We always do better when shit gets crazy and goes chaotic," Donchey says.

Donchey and Chambers, or "The Boys," as they've become known, have worked as baristas in the same Emory Village location since 2008. They first worked together at Method Coffeebar & Tea Lounge on North Decatur Road, which was then replaced by Octane Coffee, where they worked together still, until Octane closed in late 2010.

In opening Steady Hand, they'd hoped to create a long-lasting neighborhood coffee shop. But now, the boys are looking all across Atlanta - from Inman Park and Edgewood Avenue through Decatur and DeKalb Avenue - for a new home. In the meantime, they're thinking of reverting to their original food truck operation called Rattle Trap. So look out for the '82 Volkswagen Vanagon Westphalia, "a caramel-colored, ugly brown coffee van" as Chambers refers to it, while Steady Hand regroups.

At the end of it all, Chambers remains optimistic. "We feel like a couple of years from now, we're gonna look back and see that this was probably the kick in the ass that we needed to really knock things out," he says.

Currently, they're working through the loopholes of gaining city approval for a roastery, and are searching for a space with a similar feel to the cozy Emory Village atmosphere. "Nothing will ever compare to it," Chambers says, "But, we'll be better off in the long run."

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