For Gypsy Cup’s Linsay Smith, it’s all in the details, and a look around the newly minted brick and mortar in Gilbert’s Heritage District proves it.
Smith’s precise eye for design can be seen in the artwork that adorns the walls, the fresh cut flowers placed on the tables, the blazing blue La Marzocco espresso machine and matching banquettes, and in the gold accents seen everywhere, from cutlery to lighting.
“The details are everything. It’s almost boring how much I think about them,” Smith says. “I exaggerate sometimes, but it’s important. The energy of a space is so important. People feel it.”
After a lengthy construction process, the permanent Gypsy Cup location opened in downtown Gilbert in early May. Now customers can enjoy the atmosphere, as well as the food and drink, of the new cafe and restaurant.
Smith’s keen eye came in handy when she and husband Neil first opened Gypsy Cup in January 2017 as a self-proclaimed “boutique cafe on wheels”.
The idea for the coffee truck came when Smith was up in the middle of the night with baby number three. She was scrolling through Instagram and came across a photo of a tiny teardrop-shaped trailer turned into a cafe. At the same time, his lifelong love of coffee and travel converged in a lightbulb moment and Gypsy Cup was born.
Linsay worked as a corporate accountant after college and later as a bartender, but never as a barista or food truck operator. But being green also meant being brave, she says.
“Excellence takes practice, so you have to be willing to start somewhere, be humble, make mistakes, not be perfect, and put in the hours to make it big,” Smith says. She also wanted to model these principles for her three young children. “I couldn’t expect them to take risks that I wasn’t willing to take myself.”
While building the trailer, Smith wasted no time. She got to work and opened a coffee stand right in her driveway. She squeezed lemons for lemonade, refined her cold brew method, and used neighborhood feedback to test and tweak recipes.
This trial-and-error mindset propelled Gypsy Cup into food truck success and drove Smith to create some of his most popular recipes, including his Vanilla Bourbon Cold Brew, a smooth, vanilla-infused sip of Madagascar and bourbon in the brewing process.
“I always have a vision, and then it’s about adapting and tweaking,” Smith says. “I never want to stagnate, so I always try to learn, create and surround myself with the best coffee professionals I can find. I go to trade shows, trainings, read books and then it’s largely intuitive.
With the coffee truck’s popularity and Smith’s dedication, the obvious next step was a brick-and-mortar location, she says.
“Our number one question was always ‘Where is your store?’ We looked at several locations and nothing stuck up to our current location. Our first look and I knew it was the one,” Smith says.
The location is a bright, high-ceilinged oasis near the corner of Gilbert Road and Vaughn Avenue in downtown Gilbert. It has a sunny ambiance and a European cafe atmosphere. Dotted with succulents, inspired artwork, lively bar seating, plush pink chairs and terrazzo-covered tables on the patio — many accents inspired by Smith’s family trip to Europe last year — every angle is a photoshoot.
In a nutshell, it’s charming, a lovely place to gather and chat with friends or sip solo and watch the world go by.
The menu doesn’t stop at the cafe. In addition to Smith’s famous cold brew, matcha lattes and lemonade, the menu has expanded to include light bites and craft cocktails.
The Granny Verde is a mint-colored dream that might look like the cushions on Grandma’s sofa, but taste anything but old-fashioned. A blend of mezcal, ginger liqueur and cold-pressed green apple juice made by nearby Kaleidoscope Juice is topped with star anise and fresh mint.
Strawberry Kisses combines prosecco and rose petal liqueur with a hint of strawberry. And of course, there’s an espresso martini that combines concentrated cold espresso with tequila blanco, Licor 43 and chocolate syrup for a velvety sip that smells like vanilla.
In fact, all drinks have an aromatic component, including the flavorful and provocative zero-proof cocktails that layer ingredients like elderflower tonic and ginger beer flavored with fresh basil and lit lavender. .
There is something to nibble between sips.
The to-go cooler is stocked with yogurt parfaits, overnight oats, and energy bites, but we’re more fond of the bakery section. The Parisian-style baked goods are courtesy of JL Patisserie in Scottsdale and include a rotating selection of monstrously decadent cruffins, plump scones, pretty layer cakes and delicate strawberry shortcakes.
After 3 p.m., the kitchen is in full swing with a menu of small seasonal bites inspired by European cafes. There’s creamy goat cheese polenta served with poblano-tomatillo sauce and roasted vegetables, deviled eggs sprinkled with za’atar and crispy shallots, ribs with miso espresso and shishito gratin, as well as hummus and charcuterie boards overflowing with breads and spreads.
The menu will continue to evolve, Smith says. But she started with a bang.
50 Vaughn Avenue West, Gilbert
Opening hours: 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday to Thursday, 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday