The Scoop from Brad & Lissa

Bookstores and coffeehouses seem to go together these days, sort of like bagels and cream cheese or shoes and socks. It’s certainly possible to have one without the other, but together each is enhanced and, as a pair, provide greater enjoyment to people.

Politics and Prose first opened a coffeehouse in 1993, turning what had been an ugly basement space into a neighborhood attraction. The place proved popular from the start and was managed for a time by the store’s founders, Carla Cohen and Barbara Meade. But they later turned to others to run it. In 2006, three partners took over responsibility for the operation and named it Modern Times Coffeehouse. Three years after that, two of the three bowed out, leaving Javier Rivas as sole proprietor.

Under Javier, Modern Times has enjoyed a reputation for serving some of the best-tasting coffee in the Washington area. It also has offered a varied menu of pastries, sandwiches, soups, and assorted drinks, and gone through a number of improvements in recent years.

Last weekend, ownership of the coffeehouse passed to us. We’d like to express our deep appreciation publicly to Javier for all he did to develop the coffeehouse. He now intends to focus on building up his other and newer enterprise, La Mano Coffee Bar, which he and his business partner, Anna Petrillo, opened in Takoma last year.

“For three young dudes, Modern Times was a lesson in opening and operating a coffeehouse,” Javier said in a statement. “We knew that we were incredibly fortunate to set up business in a space and community that nurtured our creativity and allowed us to make some mistakes and learn from them as we grew. I am eternally grateful to P&P for trusting us and hosting a flourishing business. Nine years later, I’m taking the foundations of the success of Modern Times and applying them to La Mano Coffee Bar. That means dedication to quality ingredients, hiring and training highly motivated staff. With the help of Anna Petrillo, we also want to cultivate community and strong business partnerships in Takoma.” 

Downstairs at P&P, things will remain much as they’ve been, with the exception of the name, which will change to P&P Coffeehouse. We’re delighted that the staff, under the leadership of manager Matt Davis, will stay on and that Javier has agreed to serve as a consultant through 2015. At some future date, we plan to renovate the space and expand the food and drink menu.  We don’t have a schedule yet for that but we’ll keep you posted as our ideas take shape. So please continue to enjoy the coffeehouse and be assured it will remain a vital part of the store.

--Brad and Lissa