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Grounds for complaint 

Randy Coates, owner of Uptown Espresso, could complain about the pandemonium of cement mixers and jackhammers that aggravate his loyal customers day-in and day-out. But who would listen? He could raise hell about the parking nightmare created by six years of construction surrounding his cozy coffee bar. But what good would it do? So instead of banging his head against a brick wall of a problem that he’s powerless to solve, he’s found a way to channel the negativity of construction into something positive for his business.

Introducing Construction Grounds: coffee for the construction years. Coates has created a new blend of coffee that actually celebrates the chaos of construction. To accompany the new line of coffee, Coates has also developed an apocalyptic new logo featuring a whirlwind of bulldozers, forklifts, dirt, and rebar. A line of Construction Grounds T-shirts featuring the same brilliant graphics will also be available in time for the new year.

“From the day the construction started — they blocked the streets and took the parking out — my business dropped incredibly,� Coates explained. “I have such loyal customers that they come in anyway, they fight the battle. They come in here, and they’re so good it’s incredible. And that’s what this is all about.�

The eyecatching logo also includes plenty of no parking signs and a diabolical meter maid who looks like something straight out of an Iron Maiden poster.

“That’s what this whole damn corner is about: ‘Where am I gonna park so I can run in, get my coffee, and run out?’ It’s a mess here. You get chewed out for taking someone else’s parking place. It costs 150 bucks to get towed out of here. And the ticket people give no consideration to

When Coates first conceived the design and ran it by some friends and artists, they were surprised by how negative it looked.

“But that’s what we’re living through,� Coates responded. “So I thought, ‘How can we make that positive?’�

Coates describes the new bean as an incredible blend of dark roasted beans, very rich and very strong. It’s not over-roasted like certain other macro-brews; just the sweet, buttery, full-bodied taste.

“I owe my customers a lot,� Coates said. “They’ve battled so much. They’ve been towed out of here; they’ve been ticketed. And I want to do something for them.�


In an effort to support our troops overseas this holiday season, Pismo Beach Florist is donating a phone card to a soldier with every purchase of a “Phone Home Bouquet.� The arrangement made up of yellow flowers and greenery, with a yellow ribbon wrapped around the vase, can be sent anywhere in the world. The phone card can be sent to a soldier of your choice, or to one from a list of those in need. For more info, contact Pismo Beach Florist at 773-7673. …

… The San Luis Obispo Vintners & Growers Association (SLOVGA) is offering a wine-tasting passport good throughout the month of January, available to SLO County residents only for just $15. Passport holders of the Neighborhood Block Party will be treated to free wine tasting at 18 participating wineries in the South County, as well as 15 percent discounts on all wine purchases. To purchase tickets or for more info, call the SLOVGA at 541-5868.

Staff Writer Jeff Hornaday, always under construction, compiled this week’s Strokes & Plugs. E-mail him at jhornaday@newtimes

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