PORT ORCHARD, WA - Banana Hammock ... there, we’ve said it.
Although the name of the newest espresso stand in Port Orchard, Wash., is titillating, the all-male crew of "barristuds" won’t be sporting skimpy Speedos.
“We’re going to be guys serving coffee in the classiest way we can,” owner Adam Lovejoy said. “The name is a little out there — Banana Hammock — but I don’t want everyone coming here thinking they’re going to see naked guys.”
Servers will wear Levi’s and sleeveless T-shirts — think Sylvester Stallone or, if you’re older, Marlon Brando.
There will be theme days, like Firefighter Fridays and Tactical Tuesdays — imagine a SWAT team whipping up your latte. Facebook friends of Banana Hammock Espresso can suggest their own theme ideas.
Lovejoy, 24, is investing his life savings in the yellow hut with the cheerful monkey logo. Inspections are underway and an April 10 grand opening is targeted.
The South Kitsap, Wash., native said the stand represents a fresh start. He made some “bad choices” when he was younger and has spent the past few years digging out.
“I had to make a few mistakes to find out that’s not the way I wanted to live,” Lovejoy said. “This is my opportunity to make everything right in life.”
Lovejoy and his fiancée, Ashley Wagner, with their 3-year-old son, have been living with his parents, Dawn and Joe Lovejoy. The family is far from well-to-do, but the arrangement allowed Lovejoy to save $25,000 from construction jobs, which he has put into the venture, loan-free.
“One of my dreams growing up is starting up my own business and leaving behind something for my kids that my parents weren’t able to leave to me,” he said.
The idea of a coffee stand with a little something extra for the ladies evolved out of conversations with Facebook friend Katrina Haymaker, who owns the family-friendly Cafe Europa in Gorst, Wash.
Inevitably, the conversation turned to two area coffee stands that feature baristas in lingerie and pasties.
“I was like, if women can sell coffee, why can’t guys?” Lovejoy said. “I’m more doing it just to give the ladies something. ... Kind of level the playing field out for all of us but do it in a fun, classy way.”
In 2013, the county passed regulations requiring adult-themed espresso stands to use screening and advisory signs. Workers must be at least 18 years old. Port Orchard has no such ordinance, said development director Nick Bond.
Lovejoy said nothing about his stand will make it potentially offensive to customers with young children.
Lovejoy screened 30 applicants. Physique and appearance were less important to him than other skills.
“It’s hard to find a guy who knows how to make a good cup of coffee,” Lovejoy said.
Previous experience — or a keen willingness to learn — winnowed the crowd. Good customer-service skills were a must.
Lovejoy has hired two employees and needs two more, besides himself, to fill out the crew. The last five candidates will be featured on Banana Hammock’s Facebook page by the end of this week. The two finalists will be selected, American Idol-style, by popular vote.