In addition to a brewery tasting room and a solid rotation of food trucks, Myrtletown can now add an adorably hip coffee and wine bar to its list of rad new additions. Harbour Coffee and Wine (1651 Myrtle Ave., Suite B, Eureka) had its soft opening in early December and since then has settled into daily service offering specialty coffee, wines by the glass or bottle, and delicious small bites; and I have since added them to my list of places to snag a glass of wine on a quick lunch break.
John and Sara Salmon grew up in Humboldt County, fell in love while attending Eureka High School and together attended college in Redding, where they were introduced to the world of specialty coffee. Of the many hipster coffee shops Redding has to offer, the one that they most enjoyed was Theory — a modern cafe offering spectacular latte art and specialty regional coffee, a place where they first judge you for asking for cream in your pour-over and then hesitantly suggest which coffee would be best for you to adulterate with 2 percent milk (which was delicious, by the way.) What stood out to the Salmons was Theory's dedication to quality coffee and the diversity in their sourcing and roasting, as well as the comfortable interior of the café, which offers guests a place to connect with friends, work or read.
The Salmons ultimately chose to return to Humboldt (as many of us do) because, as John said, "We knew it was our home." Upon their return, they found they were missing their favorite coffee shop and posed the entrepreneurial question to one another, "What if we made our own?" They began casually looking for the perfect spot and when the building that housed Subway in the pre-pandemic era became available, they knew the gastronomically expanding area of Myrtletown would be an excellent location for their shop.
Today, the shop clearly shows their aesthetic and intentions. The counter is modern with clean lines and a very in-right-now message board menu. The only remnant of the previous Subway is the signature flooring — everything else says cool, up-and-coming coffee shop.
When describing the dream they had for the shop, John said that they hoped it would be "a place of rest" for their customers and that they could offer a place for them to "step into Harbour and step out of hurry." Where the shop shines is in the dedication to detail in sourcing not only the coffee, which comes from Theory, but also in the wine selection.
Wine and coffee are two of my favorite things, and they are also very similar in some ways. Their origins make all the difference, and when you get into the boutique side of both coffee and wine, you find massive variation in quality and flavors. (Even the bougie coffee Harbour offers has different tasting notes depending on their origins and roasts). And in looking through the wine list, it is apparent the Salmons want to offer selections not everyone else has, and bottles from smaller, quality producers. In fact, some of the most familiar names on the list are local producers like Briceland Vineyards and North Story Wine. And the Salmons are finding that their current customer base is interested in wines that are less common like the Ernie Els Big Easy chenin blanc from South Africa or the Terrazas Reserve Malbec from Argentina — both of which are delicious and get my stamp of approval.
And, of course, they are also offering some small bite food items as well. Their menu is perfect for a quick lunch with a variety of paninis like the turkey pesto with bacon, brie and fig jam. There are salads like the spinach and arugula salad, which features strawberries, pecans and Cypress Grove cheese with a balsamic vinaigrette. There's also a selection of charcuterie boards that make a perfect pairing for a night out with a good bottle of wine.
As the Salmons continue to build their dream, they're expanding into events. They have recently begun hosting Tuesday night tastings of select wines and are signing on with some excellent wineries like Halleck Vineyards and storied Napa producer Mayacamas.
The Salmons' intention to create a space where customers feel cared for is evident upon each visit. With the dedication to detail in sourcing both wine and coffee, with the excellent choice of vinyl records playing in the background, it's already drawing and creating community. You'll likely find me there sipping on a pour-over and a glass of wine, tapping away on my laptop.
Erin Young (she/her) is a sommelier, wine educator, consultant and Wine & Spirit Education Trust student. You can find out more on her Instagram @winewithyoung.