When you think of the term “coffee shop,” a very similar image goes through just about everyone’s mind – a well lit shop with chairs and a couch, a few plants dispersed throughout the windowsills, aesthetically pleasing ornaments hung along the walls, and music playing from a playlist that should be titled, “the hipster’s guide to a good morning.”
While this may have been common of local coffee shops in the past, Bean Bastard – now located at the intersection of Elmwood and Bryant – just revamped the entire “coffee shop” experience. Along with a “marauding” name and insignia, Bean Bastard offers a dangerously good cup of coffee, and atmosphere.
Co-owner Nick Mirusso’s love for coffee transcends just an addiction to caffeine that is common for most people when they say, “I love coffee.” Mirusso’s relationship with coffee is personal. Being 7 years sober, he has used roasting coffee as a way to formulate healthy habits and cope with anxiety and depression.
“I started roasting coffee beans in my kitchen with a stainless steel pan and a whisk.”
While he has only been roasting his own beans for about four years, Mirusso is no stranger to artistic creation. He spent a lot of his young adulthood as a musician, and found that roasting beans made the same creative connection as playing music. After a year of roasting at home in small quantities, and with encouragement from his friends and family, he began selling beans under the name “The Bean Bastard.”
Any income that came in went to beans, and bigger and better machinery to roast them. With the idea for a café not even in the works yet, Mirusso instead started a mobile cafe called the “Bean Machine,” making his beans accessible to everyone, everywhere. With his business picking up, he decided to quit his job and pursue this endeavor even deeper, but what nobody saw coming was the pandemic.
In the wake of his gleaming victory and success, the entire world began to shut down. How do you serve coffee to people who can’t even leave their house? Little did Mirusso know that what seemed to be the end, was really the beginning. He decided to put his hand to the plow and use his skills in a way that could be of service to people even in the midst of a pandemic. He became a part of an initiative known as “Fueling the Frontlines” in which local coffee shops could disperse coffee to essential and frontline workers. Bean Bastard coffee began to be featured alongside some of the most loved coffee shops here in Buffalo.
While the wheels on the Bean Machine kept rolling, so did wheels in Mirusso’s mind- maybe a brick and mortar shop was possible. He started working with Rich Casey, owner of Rust Belt Barbering and Salon Co, and together they found a space at the former Perks on Elmwood. In Mirusso’s words, “we signed a lease, and the rest is history…”
The shop itself offers an edgy vibe with a splash of nostalgia. Take the logo for example- a skull with an eyepatch is not something usually seen when referring to a coffee shop. “I wanted something that stays true to my roots. The skull represents my love for hardcore metal music and the eye patch is a reference to ‘one-eyed willy’ from my favorite movie, The Goonies.” The ‘nostalgia corner’ features 80s and 90s cult classic references that’ll send every millennial reminiscing on their favorite memories.
Apart from the incredible aesthetic, the shop hallmarks a diverse menu that is easy to navigate and delicious to devour. From vegan options to flatbread pizzas, this menu features both original recipes, and goods from other local businesses that will satisfy every craving. As for coffee, the beans are now roasted directly in house and sent straight to your next cup of coffee. The coffee is so good that it will have you begging for more.
“I really couldn’t be more excited to inspire others. I just want people to know that they can do it. Don’t get down, just keep going.”
Bean Bastard doesn’t care if you don’t know how to pronounce “macchiato,” these beans are for everyone. Stop by the shop and drink some coffee that’ll “turn your dial up to 11.”
Hours of operation are Sunday 8 a.m. until 6 p.m. and Mondays through Saturdays 8 a.m. until 8 p.m.