Rise Again: Driggs’ coffeehouse scene has a new — and delicious — addition

By on January 31, 2018


Koenig’s love of photography and coffee culture is a love of personal relationships. (PHOTO: Kisa Koenig)

If you’re looking for a convivial venue to intermingle with locals and enjoy a tasty cup of brew with a flavorful breakfast, then Rise Coffee House in Driggs is for you.

“It’s a place for community to gather and catch up, slow down and reconnect,” said owner Kisa Koenig. “The coffee culture is as much about human connection as it is about roasted and brewed beans mixed with frothy milk.”

The traditional Austrian bakery and locals’ favorite previously housed another restaurant — Pendl’s — from 2003-2016, but recently traded hands with Koenig, one of Martha Pendl’s first employees. Koenig reopened the doors in December 2017 under a new name — Rise Coffee — and the longstanding Teton Valley coffee shop now sports a modern look with rustic touches.

Rise Coffee House has a fresh new flair with repainted tables and blue re-cushioned chairs, and a custom-built glass showcase displays delectable quiches and cakes, cookies and scones, all baked in-house. Festive Living wallpaper and fabrics accentuate a whitewashed bathroom door.

Koenig, a professional photographer known for her work shooting newborns, closed the doors of her business last fall. She relayed in a farewell newsletter to the community that what truly warmed her heart during her work behind the lens was the human aspect. Entrusted to handle precious souls just one or two weeks old, it was “the conversations had, the hugs hello and goodbye, the people.”

She had always secretly dreamed of running a coffee house.

“I wanted to try something different, but I didn’t know it would be now until I heard Pendl’s was for sale,” she said.

The time was right when her friend and former employer announced her beloved business was for sale, and Koenig seized the opportunity to bring her dream to life.

“My love of photography was really the love of personal relationships. It’s the same with coffee culture, even though it’s a totally different business,” she said. “I enjoy connecting with the community.”

To Koenig, the word rise embodies multi-layered significance. As she warms her hands around a steaming cup of Americano, she waves and grins at customers trickling in, all of whom she greets by name.

“It implies rising up, as a community,” she saidd. “We live high up, bread rises, fish rise. It’s a very inspiring word, uplifting and meaningful.”

On Rise’s new logo, trees point sharply upward to the sky.

Koenig has also shifted her java supplier to Doma Coffee Roasting Company in Post Falls, Idaho.

“It’s an awesome company — responsible, conscientious, creative,” Koenig said. “We sell Doma coffee bags and Rise coffee mugs, which are made locally by Liquid Hardware in Victor.”

Rise offers scrumptious breakfast treats in addition to the classic baked goods, including a breakfast slider with eggs, bacon, American cheese, avocado and chipotle aioli on a 460 ciabatta; homemade granola with yogurt or milk and seasonal berries; and another favorite — simple avocado toast on 460 multigrain bread, with an option to add bacon.

“We are trying to cater more to the savory side of food,” Koenig said.

The menu maintained the quiches Pendl’s was known for, making them heartier. They also kept Martha Pendl’s famous pumpkin chocolate bread.

“I couldn’t let it go,” Koenig said. “It has always been my pregnancy go-to.”

Other baked goods include a veggie egg muffin, morning glory muffin, an almond pecan scone and the German chocolate brownie.

Rise has also added pourover coffee, a recent trend for java lovers who prefer their coffee ground and brewed to order.

“It’s a cleaner way to brew coffee, and more manually controlled,” Koenig said. “It gives the beans the opportunity to bloom and release carbon dioxide, which allows the intricacies of the flavor to emerge.”

The oversized white mugs are simple to accentuate the shop’s streamlined image.

But it’s not only mochas and lattes that lure patrons into Rise. The well-loved abode serves up Prosecco, mimosas, wine and beer, including a Cotes-du-Rhone, a Rosé, a 10 Barrel Brewing light pilsner and a sour called Cucumber Crush.

“We’re focusing on the lighter side of brews for daytime sipping,” Koenig said.

Hannah McClellan, well-known baker from the Pendl days, has maintained a key position in the business.

“Kisa offers me the liberty for creative ownership,” she said. “The community is what kept me here, one hundred percent, and a lot of people are happy that someone local took over.”

Her goal is to change menu items each month and keep it rotating. Her scones — raspberry, lemon and so on — are different each day.

“Change can be good in a small community. It’s a new image, but we are still serving tremendous coffee and fabulous baked goods,” McClellan said. “Evolution is positive, and Rise will be one of those spaces that is ever changing.” PJH

Rise Coffee House is located at 40 Depot Street, Driggs, Idaho. www.risedriggs.com.

About Jessica L. Flammang

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