After months of anticipation, Black Dog Coffee Roasters opened on Saturday morning to line out the door of eager customers.

The space still has aesthetic remnants of its former tenant, Lord Windsor, with its checkered tile floor, but its decor is completely new. The counter tops have coffee beans suspended in the wood and its walls are covered in photos of the coffee plant and framed burlap sacks the coffee was shipped in.

Initially, Black Dog just served drip coffee. But now, its menu includes classic drinks like lattes, mochas and cold brews. And while the shop generally serves medium roast coffee, if you’re willing to wait 10 to 15 minutes, staff will roast a batch of your desired roast level in-house.

Francisco Portillo, owner, places raw beans into a roaster at Black Dog Coffee Roasters on Monday, Nov. 6, 2023. Photo by Thomas R. Cordova.

Owner Francisco Portillo moved to Long Beach a little over six years ago from El Salvador. Originally, his business model was focused on roasting and distributing the coffee beans that come from his family farm in El Salvador. The farm has over 70 employees and produces over 50,000 pounds of coffee beans each year.

When Portillo opened his first coffee business in Signal Hill in February 2020, it would only be open a short time before the COVID-19 pandemic would shutter all non-essential shops. So he pivoted to serving coffee out of a cart, and he says it was a hit.

Black Dog has seen incredible growth in the past three years. In addition to the Long Beach location, Portillo is still operating the coffee cart in Signal Hill which is in the process of expanding.

At the new shop, he hopes to put on workshops to educate people on the process of growing and roasting coffee as well as the proper way to brew coffee. In just the first few days of opening, he’s already seeing repeat customers.

Customers order at Black Dog Coffee Roasters in Long Beach, Monday, Nov. 6, 2023. Photo by Thomas R. Cordova.
Coffee beans roast at Black Dog Coffee Roasters on Monday, Nov. 6, 2023. Photo by Thomas R. Cordova.

“Sometimes I just sit and look and see people working [at the shop] and I’m like ‘wow,'” Portillo said.

The shop is still in it’s “soft” opening phase, although it wasn’t very soft.

“We wanted to take photos of all the customers on the first day but we had to stop because there were so many,” Portillo said.

A grand opening will happen in a few weeks time after Portillo is able to secure some food vendors to partner with for the festivities.

Follow Black Dog Coffee Roasters for updates. Black Dog Coffee Roasters is located at 1101 E. Third Street.