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Al Lauzon, Dozer's operations manager, and Tommy Kennedy, owner

Dozer Coffee Joins the HOMES Taproom

Tommy Kennedy expands his beverage portfolio.

by Micheline Maynard

From the January, 2022 issue

For nearly two years, customers at HOMES Brewery's "campus"-its production facility and tap room in Jackson Plaza-have watched the construction project taking place next door.

In mid-December, Dozer Coffee finally made its west-side debut. Covid, plus construction delays and shortages of materials, pushed the project back from its scheduled midsummer opening, says Al Lauzon, Dozer's operations manager, who oversaw the work.

The name is a "play on coffee as an antidote for sleepiness" he explains, and it's also the name of owner Tommy Kennedy's Yorkie dog, "so that may have helped with the choice," he jokes.

Because coffee is often used by craft brewers, particularly in making stout, the addition of a roastery and café seemed logical, Lauzon says. Coffee is HOMES' second beverage diversification: in 2020, it developed Smooj, whose canned "hard seltzer smoothies" are now sold in eight states.

Dozer takes up 2,200 square feet of space in a long warehouse-type building, trimmed in chartreuse, which is now one of three on the HOMES campus.

Inside, the coffee spot's industrial yet warm appearance houses well-distanced polished wooden booths and counters and a stone floor. The roasting area is visible behind plate glass at the front of the shop as patrons enter.

Dozer has an ample selection of espresso and brewed coffees, as well as bagged coffees with the eye-catching Dozer logo, its snappy typeface bringing to mind the lettering in comic books.

Lauzon recommends that newcomers taste one of Dozer's drip varieties, which start at $3 a cup, then move on to espresso drinks, including a cortado at $4 and a cappuccino at $4.50.

Dozer also is specializing in a rotating donut menu, with two dedicated donut creators among its twenty staffers. Varieties, ranging from donut holes for fifty cents each to fancier varieties costing $2.50 and up, are expected to change every two weeks.

My Boston Crème Pie donut, at $4.50, was a salad plate-sized pastry with a rich chocolate icing and a pleasantly moderate amount of

...continued below...

custard filling (no worries about it squishing out with each bite).

There is a full breakfast and lunch menu, allowing customers to order meals from Dozer and pair them with beers from the tap room. There is ample indoor seating, and customers who want to brave the winter chill can sit outdoors, too.

Lauzon says Dozer plans to add craft sodas and other nonalcoholic beverages later in 2022, reflecting the project's hope of being hospitable to customers of all ages.

Eventually, he says Dozer wants to host pop-up food vendors on its vast outdoor plaza, turning the location into a west-side version of York Yard and Ypsilanti's Cultivate.

He says Dozer isn't daunted by the growing competition across Ann Arbor's coffee landscape, where at least three other café-roastery combinations have opened in recent months, joining veterans like Mighty Good, RoosRoast, and Zingerman's.

"There's a really fun, friendly relationship in coffee in this part of Michigan," he says. "Our goal is to start building cool associations with everyone else in the area."

Dozer Coffee, 112 Jackson Pl., (734) 929-0217. Mon.-Fri. 7 a.m.-4 p.m., Sat. & Sun. 7 a.m.-7 p.m.     (end of article)


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