The owner of PoshNosh Catering is opening a cafe, bar and adjacent event space in the Dock 1053 warehouse on Whitaker Mill Road, which already is home to a popular brewery, coworking space and modern furniture store.
Coleen Speaks, who has owned the catering company for 10 years, is opening Hummingbird – which will serve breakfast, lunch and become a bar after 5 p.m. – and Whitaker & Atlantic, the event space. She said she plans to open both Sept. 1 and already has booked events for the new space.
She joins a converted warehouse that has quickly become a destination in the past few years. The former supermarket distribution center, now owned by Grubb Ventures, houses Lynnwood Brewing Concern, Trig Modern furniture store, Pinetop Distillery, the Loading Dock coworking space and spaces for other artisans and entrepreneurs. (Grubb Ventures has additional plans to revitalize the former Peden Steel property across the street.)
Hummingbird will open at 7 a.m. The cafe will have coffee, pastries and sandwiches.
At 5 p.m., Speaks said, Hummingbird will serve craft cocktails, wine and champagne and small plates.
“The focus is going to be this incredible bar space, and there’s going to be really good food,” she said.
While the menu is still being tweaked, she said it will be similar to food served through her catering operation.
“I like to keep things simple, five ingredients or less,” she said. “I like clean food. Of course it has to be pretty.”
Speaks got her start working in kitchens as a teenager. She lived in New Orleans and worked for Emeril Lagasse’s NOLA as well as the former Bluebird Cafe, which was an iconic breakfast and lunch spot.
She moved to Raleigh in 2001 and worked at Bloomsbury Bistro, the now-closed Bistro 607 and Enoteca Vin, where chef Ashley Christensen worked before opening Poole’s Diner.
All the while, Speaks’ catering operations continued to grow. But she said it can be a struggle to be an off-premise caterer, or not being connected to her own event space with a kitchen.
She has been working toward having her own space for years, she said. So when she was forced to move her catering operations off Peace Street – N.C. Department of Transportation is redoing the Capital Boulevard bridge over Peace Street – it was a perfect opportunity to move to Dock 1053 to make those dreams a reality.
She said she has been keeping an eye on the Dock 1053 space and the developing neighborhood since 2014.
“So before anything was in here, I’ve seen this whole thing unfold,” she said. “It’s really quite awesome what it’s become. The energy here is so good.”
Her new kitchen, paid for with compensation from the NCDOT for being displaced, is open and airy. Skylights allow natural light to shine on prep spaces and racks of hanging pots and utensils. She moved there at the end of February and has hosted parties and events in the kitchen. Her husband, Nick Speaks, sets up a turntable to DJ with an extensive collection of vinyl records.
As for Hummingbird and Whitaker & Atlantic, there’s much work to be done. The warehouse, built in 1955 for A&P, still has remnants of its distribution days. REdesign.build is handling the design.
The event space will have an additional kitchen, a permanent bar and a bridal suite. It can seat up to 150 people or 275 for cocktails, though curtains can create smaller spaces. Pop-up events are in the plans, too.
“Just a great space with lots of room to grow,” she said.
In the Hummingbird space, which still has old mint green tiles on the walls, tape outlines where the 10-stool bar will be. (The stools will be repurposed from other venues, including Finch’s, the restaurant next to PoshNosh that was torn down for roadwork.)
An adjacent space will be more of a lounge with another dozen seats. Most of the seating will be outside on the patio – about 40 to 50 seats.
“This is something I’ve wanted my whole life,” Speaks said.
Yet, when it came time to think of a name for her bar, she was faced with a challenge while brainstorming.
“Twenty names later, I went to this space,” she recalled. “What’s this space going to be?”
Then she landed on Hummingbird.
“It’s going to be really efficient and really beautiful,” she said. “What are those two things? A hummingbird is that. They’re pretty.”
Info: 1053 E. Whitaker Mill Road, Raleigh; Find PoshNosh Catering at poshnoshcatering.info, on Twitter @PoshNoshRaleigh and Instagram and Facebook. Follow the project on Instagram @WhitakerandAtlantic and @HummingbirdRaleigh.