Hillside Coffee & Donut Co, El Paso, TX
4935 N Mesa St, El Paso, TX 79912
I've discovered my favorite part of El Paso: the Monticello area. I've talked before about my love of Air BnB (and seriously people, if you don't use Air BnB instead of a hotel, you ARE missing out)! During my visit to El Paso, my husband and I found a beautiful home in the foothills of the Franklin Mountains. The area was full of beautifully detailed and uniquely designed houses in the rolling hills of El Paso with streets lined by palm trees and well-landscaped medians. If you didn't know better, you might think you were in Palm Springs!
On the way, we passed a shopping center in Monticello called TIME. TIME is composed of seven unique buildings in a central gathering space with multiple shipping containers at its core. There are three main restaurants and a spattering of businesses in small cubby shops. TIME is a modern urban sprawl with beautiful landscaping, multiple gushing fountains and waterfall walls. Also, there over 20 unique cacti spread throughout that made this plant lady so happy! In the one hour we were there, I saw two people doing photo shoots!
On the edge of this marvelous center was
Hillside Coffee & Donut Co.
According to Jason at Hillside, the origin of the name Hillside is fairly straight-forward: it's named after location of the shop on a hill on the west-side of El Paso. When I asked whether the coffee or donuts came first, Jason explained that the creators built the concept menu of Hillside around the donuts, however, the donut recipes and espresso-based drinks were developed almost simultaneously.
Let's talk donuts first.
I'd say there were about a dozen donut options. My hubby opted for the cinnamon sugar and I got the peanut butter chocolate donut for myself. Both of us didn't want to share; they were that good! The outside of the donut had a perfect crunch, but the center was soft and somewhat flaky. What's not to love about fried dough?! Full disclosure: I might have enjoyed my donut more than my coffee...
I can seldom pass up the opportunity to get a flat white from an independent coffee shop (whereas I can always pass up a flat-white from from Starbucks). My husband ordered the blackberry mocha, which we both thought was too neat to ignore. We were slightly disappointed to wait about 15 minutes for our coffee during a lull period in the afternoon and we bummed again when we finally receive our drinks in to-go cups after we asked for cups to drink in. I think the barista might have been slightly overwhelmed that day. Full disclosure: I might have enjoyed my donut more than my coffee...
Hillside brews 2Ten beans. When asked, Hillside did not elaborate on the nature of their beans, but did note that their beans comes from all over the world. Unfortunately, they don't include much detail in store or on their website about the nature of 2Ten beans and 2Ten's website doesn't elaborate on their relationship with their growers. I'm hoping to visit 2Ten next time I'm in town and ask in person!
Based on the wide variety of Hillside's coffee menu and the focus of the store, I got the vibe that Hillside is determined to meet the desire of every possible customer. They've got many flavored lattes, matcha, cold brew, tea, and many couple pour-over options. In meeting so many possible needs, I think Hillside may have sacrificed being great in just in a few coffee options.
Hillside's interior and exterior, however, is particularly note-worthy. The designer of the shop did an excellent job in mixing colors and textures. The cigar couches are my personal favorite. The floor work is another unique touch -- take note above of the chevroned wood flooring that meets that lovely antiqued brickwork.
There a couple long wooden community tables, dark wooden countertops along the wall, and small marbled tables mixed throughout. Metal chairs are contrasted well by rich leather couches. The cigar couches are my personal favorite.
Gigantic paned windows wrap the shop on three sides. Hillside was smart to put in a rolling screen for when the sun is too direct. Otherwise, these wonder are lovely in letting natural light flood the shop inside.
The storefront is wrapped in rustic aluminum that matches the vibes established by the shipping containers at the center of the TIME complex.
The show doesn't end there! Take a walk with me around the area and get a feel for the vibrant play of colors and textures at work. And if you're curious about my skirt... it's from Francis and Benedict, a non-profit equipping and employing Togolese seamstresses by providing them with dignified and sustainable employment. F & B seamstresses sew beautiful high-quality cotton skirts like mine below from African textiles.
Happy, happy, happy!
Come check out Hillside if nothing else but walk around the TIME center and rest your eyes on the stunning architecture and design. I'm going to visit again to give the coffee a second chance in the hopes that I caught the barista on a bad day. What I can tell you is that the donuts are super, in that great crunchy fried dough kind of way!