What it is: Born to Fitz and The Tantrums Drummer John Wicks and his wife Jenna-this Italian inspired, Missoula-esque espresso bar is a much needed addition to Missoula's coffee and food scene. It's an immaculate yet cozy neighborhood coffee shop and bakery with a star-driven backstory. On opening day, March 1st, 2016 ABC Fox Montana was on-site to film a segment. The daily newspaper splashed Wicks and his staff across its front page.
While Wicks is grateful for the attention, his fame shouldn't overshadow Drum's focus what's ultimately most important: its drinks, food, service and atmosphere.
"It takes a little bit from all of the best coffee shops I've visited or worked in and brings it all into one place," says Wicks, who spent years as a barista in Seattle before his music career took off. "This is the cafe I always wanted to hang out in."
What you're drinking: The house favorite is the cortado, which is two ounces espresso cut with two ounces steamed milk, served in a Gibraltar glass. (In some cafes, the drink is also known as a Gibraltar.) Wicks proudly proclaims his the best in Montana. "This is the drink I want us to be known for," he says.
As of July 2017 Drum Coffee is roasting and wholesaling beans worldwide. Drum's espresso blend named "Luigi" is based on flavor profiles Wicks loved in roasts from David Schomer's Espresso Vivace in Wicks' hometown Seattle and good friend Jamie McCormick's Abraço in Manhattan's Lower East Side-two of Wicks' favorite roasters-and he describes it as "a classic Italian espresso" that's "balanced and comforting, not lemony like you find in many 'Third Wave' cafes. "We are starting the new trend in coffee called "No Wave!" says Wicks (only half kidding). We're keeping the high quality but getting rid of the snobbery and bringing back the fun and community vibe that cafes should have."
Where you're hangin': Also absent in Drum Coffee is the snooty attitude and museum-like atmosphere that seem to be commonplace in the Third Wave movement. The staff was hand-picked by Wicks, who said he poached several of them from restaurants across Missoula. "I would go in and see how they interacted with people, and I would say 'That's what I want,' " he said.
What you're eating: Any number of global-inspired delectables, all made in an open kitchen situated right behind the register. On any given day the menu may cured olive cookies, chocolate babka, honey saffron cake, and chorizo empanadas. The breakfast sandwich is served with capicola, hard boiled egg and micro greens on brioche with pesto.
"It's such a competitive market, I wanted to do something to set myself apart," Wicks says of the menu. He adds that the rotating food items are inspired by Mediterranean, Middle Eastern, North African and southern Spanish cuisine.
WHERE YOUR MONEY'S GOING: Wicks ensures that Drum Coffee supports the local community by donating a percentage of its sales to renowned charities voted on by its customers. "We choose three local non-profit organizations quarterly," says Wicks "Each time a customer makes a purchase, he or she may vote for one of the three non-profits we are supporting at that time. We then allocate two percent of sales based on the number of votes each organization receives during the three-month donation period."