King State will soon help Tampa Heights catch a buzz, in more ways than one

The specialty roaster's first cafe fuses coffee, beer and food.

click to enlarge Tim McTague and Nate Young, who launched King State in 2014. - Courtesy of King State
Courtesy of King State
Tim McTague and Nate Young, who launched King State in 2014.

King State was stuck in the permitting stages for over eight months. But the specialty coffee roaster’s first brick-and-mortar cafe — where founders Tim McTague and Nate Young will help Tampa Heights catch a buzz, in more ways than one — is finally under construction.

The duo, who’ve toured in bands for most of their lives, aim to open the doors at 520 E. Floribraska Ave. in late February.

“We wanted it because the lot is big for parking and we have built in 28 spots, which isn’t common in Tampa,” said Young as he made his rounds to different areas of the 1,150-square-foot space, surveying the construction progress.

He and McTague staked out the 1950s building before buying it in early 2018 after a little runaround from the previous owner. Initially, the property wasn’t for sale — until the guys put up a counter-offer the owner couldn’t refuse.

Now that the space is receiving the drywall treatment, Young says he can’t help but drive by almost daily to check in.

King State launched nearly five years ago. Young oversees the branding side of the operation, while McTague handles the overall vision and logistics.

“We wanted to make the perfect product,” Young said, adding they took a trip to Portland for some formal training. “Once we got back home, we roasted for a year straight in Tim’s garage, and then debuted our first coffee in June 2015.”

Luckily for coffee nerds, the founders continue to roast one-of-a-kind blends like Antigua Hunapu Guatemala, which features a flavor profile with hints of blackberry and lime.

click to enlarge The founders won't serve the Tampa Heights neighborhood with just coffee. - Jenna Rimensnyder
Jenna Rimensnyder
The founders won't serve the Tampa Heights neighborhood with just coffee.

Their plan from the start, according to Young, was to grow slowly to earn the trust and loyalty of customers, and they have.

“It wasn’t hard to get the funding side for the brick-and-mortar because people were that stoked,” the co-founder continued.

King State has also always intended to fuse coffee, beer and food, which McTague and Young once believed was a pipe dream. In a few weeks, however, the pair will start pouring 16 taps — 10 of them being their own — on Floribraska.

Head brewer Aric Parker traded beer for coffee with Young and McTague before coming on board. Throughout the last year, six house brews have come to fruition, with more on their way in preparation for the cafe’s debut.

The food program is lead by Young’s sister, Carolyn, who made the move down south from Nashville. She’ll use her experience from Music City bagel joint Proper to put healthier spins on Southern recipes, including biscuits and gravy with turkey sausage. Select vegetarian options are on the menu, too.

Meanwhile, the decor remains a work in progress. Young has recruited his longtime friend, Jordan Butcher, to assist with aesthetics, and the goal is to create a tropical, punk-rock vibe that maintains the integrity of the building.

The founders aren’t entirely sure what this combo looks like yet, but they’re goin’ for it.

King State expects to operate 8 a.m. to midnight daily during the soft-opening phase. Hours will expand as the cafe gets into a groove, and something tells us it won’t take long.

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