18 minutes ago
A West Deer woman has converted her former art studio into a coffee and tea shop that pays homage to popular culture with its unique variety of flavors.
Visitors to The Hungry Cupcake at 7 Mckrell Road in West Deer’s Russellton neighborhood will find coffees and teas based on popular fandoms such as Star Wars, Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, Disney and Marvel.
“I have teas named ‘Snow White’ and ‘Evil Queen.’ I have ButterBeer coffee,” owner Jennifer Urbanek said. “I have ‘Outlander’-inspired stuff.”
Urbanek taught acrylic painting at the studio for 15 years.
She decided to make the move from painting to coffee and tea because she only was teaching classes there once a week, and her daughter was going to culinary school.
“I’ve always been super passionate about tea. I love coffee. I love tea even more,” Urbanek said. “And I wanted a way, since my daughter was going to culinary school, to see how we could get this into just a complete family business.”
Urbanek blends her coffees and teas in-house.
She tries to match her flavors to the personalities of people or characters or the feel of a fandom.
Some, like her ButterBeer-flavored coffee, are no-brainers.
“That was an easy one because ButterBeer is butterscotch and vanilla, and it’s what you would get if you go to Hogwarts in the Wizarding World,” Urbanek said.
Others may take a couple weeks to figure out.
Urbanek’s “Star Wars”-inspired R2D2 and R2Dcaf are medium roast Colombian coffee blends flavored with sweet blueberry. She said she did that because when she thinks of the droid, she thinks of his blue coloring.
“I wanted to really kind of just not throw things (in) and call it something,” Urbanek said. “I wanted it to be really based on a TV show, really based on a movie, really based on a character.”
One of her newer coffee blends, Bublé Season, channels Canadian singer Michael Bublé with bourbon, chocolate and Canadian maple flavors.
“I thought, OK, what is Michael Bublé about?” Urbanek said. “Well, he’s Canadian, so we have Canadian maple in there. He lives in New Orleans and sings that velvety music, so I thought some chocolate and bourbon.”
Urbanek added, “I’m very nerdy.”
The shop isn’t yet open for retail sales, but the inside screams fandom.
There is a door designed like the TARDIS from “Doctor Who,” a statue of Darth Vader with his red lightsaber, a suit of armor, the Sorting Hat from “Harry Potter,” “Harry Potter” magical wands and Hogwarts house ties, and “Pirates of the Caribbean” and “Twilight” memorabilia.
“It’s not the clean lines of like a Starbucks, I would say,” Urbanek said.
Urbanek hopes to open for retail sales the week before Thanksgiving.
She is still going through the permitting process with the Allegheny County Health Department to be able to serve food and drinks at the shop.
She hopes to be able to do that before St. Patrick’s Day.
Her daughter, Kelsie Urbanek, will be making pastries. Kelsie Urbanek is a graduate of the Culinary Management program at Niagara College, Canada.
“She’s amazing,” Urbanek said. “She went to A.W. Beattie Career Center when she was in high school for pastry and culinary, and then went again to Canada to continue her education. She’ll be helping me definitely with the pastries and getting everything situated with the kitchen.”
Urbanek’s coffee blends cost $7.50 for 6 oz. Her teas cost between $7 and $9 for 3 oz.
Right now, people can order coffee and tea by sending her a direct message on Facebook.
She will ship or deliver orders, or people can pick them up curbside.
The shop also sells teas from retailers such as The Republic of Tea and Adagio Teas.
West Deer Supervisors Chairman Arlind Karpuzi said he and his fellow supervisors have made it a priority to help out the township’s small businesses, which he considers to be the backbone of the community.
He’s reached out for a couple coffee orders.
“One of the best things about West Deer is seeing how all of our neighbors come together to support our local businesses,” he said. “In the midst of everything that has happened this past year, we grow closer when we show this love and support of the local businesses.”
Local | Valley News Dispatch