169 Mill Street (near intersection of Mill & Carpenter)
The Mill Street strip in downtown Gahanna is filled with plenty of restaurant and entertainment options just a stone throw away on the fringe of the area a beautiful airstrean trailer caught my eye. I was excited to see a mobile food option in the neighborhood. After a nice visit for an Italian Soda and chat with the guys, I figured our readers would want to know more. So here you go, my Q and A with Blank Slate.
1) Tell me about the Team on Blank Slate (who and what you do).
The Blank Slate team consists of the owner/operator Matt Roberson, as well as three other baristas. Working in such close quarters demands that each barista be able to “run the show” by themselves, or in pairs. We rarely have a 3rd person on the trailer.
2) When did Blank Slate Open?
Blank Slate has existed for almost a year and half, though for the first year, we only did booth events. We’ve only been running full ours from the Airstream since June 6th of this year.
3) How did you pick your spot?
My wife and I live in Gahanna and are dedicated to a community-centric business model. We’re asking the community to support us, so we should be working to support the community. Gahanna is our community, so it was a no-brainer. We’re consistently parked on a commuter route that a good portion of New Albany and Gahanna uses. Morning commuter traffic is essential for us.
4) Where did you find your trailer and how long did it take to build out.
The Airstream was in Indianapolis when we found it. A woman who owned a couple of bakeries was looking for a mobile outlet, and had started the process to turn the Airstream into that. She ended up going a different way, and we ended up with a partially restored Airstream! The exterior had been buffed, floors and interior walls updated, and partial electric. Building out everything needed for a coffee vendor took around two months.
5) What is your background in / passion for coffee?
I actually came into coffee culture through a different door than most. As an artist and musician, I had the opportunity to put together art and music events for various coffee shops. My sister had owned a coffee shop when I was younger, and it has always been an atmosphere that was naturally comfortable for me. From working with various pour over methods at home, to using our basement to restore the antique espresso machine that we use, I definitely have a DIY approach when it comes to coffee. Our roaster, Mission Coffee Co, has been an amazing resource for us, as well as Kenny Sipes, the owner of Roosevelt Coffee.
6) You source a lot of local ingredients and locally made products on your trailer, what inspired that for you?
We’re local and we ask people to support us because we’re local. Supporting local is common sense when you step back and look at it. It’s better for you health wise, better for the environment, and better for your local economy. If we push these ideals as individuals, we should strive to live them out in our business practices as well. Using Ohio products makes a lot of sense to us, and finding businesses that we can support that are good for our health, environment, and economy has made it a practical choice for us.
7) Anything else to add that you want to make sure people know or understand about Blank Slate.
We’re collaborative people. We’ve worked hard to build connections with city hall, our visitors bureau, parks and rec, etc. We see a lot of potential in Gahanna, and if there’s other people who are interested in making something out here work, we’d be happy to get together and see what we can come up with.