McKinney's Duino Coffee seeks community connection amid pandemic

Before the coronavirus pandemic, Duino Coffee served as a community hub and a place for people to connect. (Courtesy Duino Coffee)
Before the coronavirus pandemic, Duino Coffee served as a community hub and a place for people to connect. (Courtesy Duino Coffee)

Before the coronavirus pandemic, Duino Coffee served as a community hub and a place for people to connect. (Courtesy Duino Coffee)

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Duino Coffee opened in February 2019 in McKinney. (Courtesy Duino Coffee)
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Duino Coffee offers a variety of sweet and savory toasts. (Courtesy Duino Coffee)
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Asil and Hesham Bakr are the owners of Duino Coffee in McKinney. (Courtesy Duino Coffee)
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Duino is a small seaside town situated on the cliffs of the Adriatic coast of Italy; it is what inspired the Bakrs to open Duino Coffee. (Courtesy Duino Coffee)
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The Amazon Chili Pepper Mocha is made with dark chocolate and smoked chili peppers grown in the Amazon by a co-op of female farmers. Duino Coffee buys them directly to support the farmers and the natural Amazon ecosystem, owner Hesham Bakr said. (Courtesy Duino Coffee)
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The Waffley Waffle ($7.50) is a waffle with whipped cream and a choice of maple syrup or strawberry jam. (Courtesy Duino Coffee)
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Duino Coffee serves a variety of coffees, lattes and loose-leaf teas. (Courtesy Duino Coffee)
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Before the coronavirus pandemic, Duino Coffee served as a community hub and a place for people to connect. (Courtesy Duino Coffee)
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The Banana Bengals dish ($5) features brown sugar-bruléed fresh bananas with chocolate, caramel and whipped cream. (Courtesy Duino Coffee)
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The chicken pesto panini ($8.50) is made with grilled chicken and house-made pesto and is served with chips. (Courtesy Duino Coffee)
Hesham Bakr’s love of coffee first awakened when he would walk his grandmother to the grocery store as a child. He would be with her as she picked up her favorite beans for her Turkish coffee.

This affinity for coffee manifested itself into Duino Coffee, a McKinney cafe that not only offers coffee and espresso, but also loose-leaf teas, sandwiches and desserts.

“I decided to pursue my dream of owning my own business, and more importantly, owning a community-based business that is highly integrated in the community and helps with all sorts of philanthropy as well as helping with the arts,” Bakr said.

Bakr and his wife, Asil, opened the coffee shop in February 2019 with the goal of creating a space for people to gather and connect.

“No one knew that this would be probably the worst time that an entrepreneur can start a business, with COVID-19,” Bakr said.


The way Duino had been operating came to an abrupt halt, Bakr said, ashat once served as a community hub and place for people to stay switched to online orders and preparing items to go. Tweaks both large and small were made—from setting up a new ordering system to extending the lives lattes and pastries so they could survive delivery times.

The Bakrs said they rose to the challenge not only to keep their basic operations going; they also found new ways to serve customers. The coffee shop launched a coffee subscription service April 13 for Craig Ranch residents, where the shop delivers 10 drinks of choice over the course of two weeks with one purchase.

On April 14, the business rolled out made-to-order cold drinks for purchase by the quart. These include an iced latte, cold brew or an iced chai latte, and can contain five drinks for customers to enjoy over the course of three to five days, Bakr said.

In addition to figuring out what to do for their business, the Bakrs said they have also been working on what they can do for their community. This took the form of the business’s White Cup Challenge, in which the shop’s paper cups are sold to customers for $1; customers are then asked to turn the cup into a work of art or to express words of encouragement on the cup. All proceeds from the sale of these cups go to Minnie’s Food Pantry in Plano, Bakr said.

After 10 days of the challenge, Duino Coffee had raised enough money to serve 200 meals at the pantry, Bakr said, but the goal is to reach 1,000 meals by April 28.

“We are taking this opportunity to look out and reach out to the community and do good in our community, which ultimately, helps us communicate who we are and what our brand stands for, but it also helps a lot of people that are in need,” Bakr said.

The coffee shop is also looking at rolling out family dinner-style options to help make ordering meals easier for families. This is something Bakr said he noticed customers had been asking for.

“Most families are looking at purchasing meals for the entire family at the same time, not necessarily individual by individual,” Bakr said.

Even before COVID-19, Duino Coffee had been getting ready to expand its menu, and the business has decided to move forward with that and to introduce new items, Bakr said. The new menu includes both sweet and savory quesadillas and wraps, now offered in addition to the sandwiches, toast and salads and the cafe already serves.

While many are being impacted by the new coronavirus, Bakr said it is important to stay positive and share good things with others.

“That’s what Duino Coffee is trying to provide at this point, is to reach out to the community and be positive, be helpful, be available for our customers and employees and be optimistic,” Bakr said. “We're confident that we're going to come out of this very, very strong as a business, but more importantly, as a community.”

Duino Coffee

7650 Stacy Road, McKinney

469-424-0050

www.duinocoffee.com

Temporary hours: 8 a.m.-5 p.m. daily
By Miranda Jaimes

Editor, Frisco & McKinney

Miranda joined Community Impact Newspaper as an editor in August 2017 with the Grapevine/Colleyville/Southlake edition. In 2019 she transitioned to editor for the McKinney edition. She began covering Frisco as well in 2020. Miranda covers local government, transportation, business and nonprofits in these communities. Prior to CI, Miranda served as managing editor for The Prosper Press, The Anna-Melissa Tribune and The Van Alstyne Leader, and before that reported and did design for The Herald Democrat, a daily newspaper in Grayson County. She graduated with a degree in journalism from Oklahoma Christian University in 2014.