Within the past 5 years, there has undoubtedly been a rise in popularity for all things craft. It’s been a slow trickle down from the Pacific Northwest and with it comes beer, leather and wood work, coffee (guilty as charged,) white walls, subway tile, limited menus and specialty cocktails. I really have no problem with this. In fact, it’s the culture that I embrace and will proudly claim responsibility for bringing specialty coffee to surface level in San Diego. We’re constantly spinning things in a new light, with a fresh perspective and a cheeky twist in order to reach people and hold their interest. Again, there’s nothing wrong with this (because that’s my job and I love it) but there’s something to be said about a craft that is meticulously and beautifully done the way that it has always been done. A craft that is timeless and passed down from generation to generation, mentor to apprentice and carried out with the same passion as before is beautiful.
One of the greatest things about my job is the countless number of people that I meet, interact with and eventually call friends. I’m honored to call Matt Lyons a friend. Matt is a self-starter. He has a dream and believes in it. I don’t believe that his dream is to start a business and get rich quick. Even though the entire model of starting a business is for it to be profitable, not all things can be quantified by end of day sales. For those of us who are truly passionate about a craft, a product or service, the true definition of success happens every day in the interactions we have face-to-face and the pride behind the product.
Tribute Pizza has been a passion project for Matt since working for other kitchens, cooks, chefs and catering groups. Like all projects, it’s hard to get things off the ground while juggling jobs. However, this is something that he’s kept alive and built a community around.
After a 100-day stint in Nairobi, Kenya consulting and creating a full-fledged pizza program for 360 Degrees Pizza, (See a chronicle of his journey here) he was welcomed back with open arms! To hear his stories about the culture, his experience with the riots and terrorist attacks, and how proud he was of the team there was inspiring and quantifies as success and therefore, a solid business.
Since returning, Coffee & Tea Collective has somewhat adopted Matt into the family. We’ll take whatever knowledge he will share with us in exchange for his favorite drink and some water for Kaya. He has introduced our community to focaccia, a new flagship toast program and locally sourced house-made jam. Needless to say, he’s a helluva guy.
You can follow him here. You can find him slinging pies behind our bar on select Thursdays and Saturdays. Seriously, they’re to die for.
I’ve always tried to surround myself with talented people in hopes of having some of that magic rub off. I’ve been fortunate enough to have this be the case for much of my time in San Diego. I’ve worked with musicians, artists, entrepreneurs and some of the best filmmakers many of which I met through my time working at Invisible Children.
My friend Jay recently produced a short that has since reached Staff Pick on Vimeo and has had thousands of views and follow-ups. This passion project of his was born out of a conversation we were having at his house in Golden Hill. Jay was living in an older, craftsman-style, house which second story looked down over the hill which was lined with naked palm trees, power-lines and laundry ropes. Being from Miami, I told Jay that this view from the window pretty much resembles Little Havana. Boom. Spark. Ignite.
Jay went on to produce the short with a collective group of friends, talent and awesome locations all found throughout the inner and outer lyings of San Diego county. Check it out.