Sometimes cheering for the little guy isn’t just the right thing to do – it’s Oddly Correct. To prove its own point, the coffee shop by this name isn’t a coffee shop at all. While it can certainly serve the functions of wherever you currently get caffeinated, it goes beyond into places you’d never think. When they opened their first location in 2011, they were a combination coffee roaster, company headquarters and letterpress printer. Because that’s Oddly Correct.
“We enjoy a certain vibe,” says owner Gregory Kolsto, “and buck somewhat at the contemporary notions of what we expect from a coffee shop situation.” Part of that is growing responsibly and not jumping at the first option that comes along. Fast-forward from that first shop – which just wasn’t suited to the customer experience they envisioned – to their second shop on bustling Main Street in the heart of midtown. With the opening of that tasting room in December 2012, they could suddenly accommodate more than 40 customers, as opposed to a capacity of a dozen or less.
“We position ourselves as a tasting room for a coffee roaster, rather than a coffee shop,” explains Kolsto. For those of you who relate better to beer, picture their tasting room as a taproom for a brewery, offering about a dozen items to choose from, focusing on coffee as the primary flavor center.
“We believe that coffee is a complete, stand-alone beverage that does not require any additives to consume,” Kolsto said, comparing it to how you wouldn’t immediately reach for salt or condiments at a nice restaurant. “Trust the chef, open oneself to a new experience, rather than coming to the table with a preconceived notion. In that regard, we don't offer sweeteners or cream for our drip coffees. We designed an espresso menu in a similar fashion, creating an option for folks who enjoy dairy.” The only sweetener they use is a nod to another Kansas City entrepreneur, the “delicious fat” found in Shatto Dairy’s whole milk.
Unlike some businesses, Oddly Correct embraces, respects and applauds what could be seen as “the competition” around town. “We are super proud of our city's coffee culture,” Kolsto said. “There is a lot of good coffee to be had. We don't hesitate to direct folks to other coffee establishments in the city, if what we are up to does not suit the desires of everyone. Kindness and hospitality are key. We fight for that.”
So what about that name – Oddly Correct? “We encourage everyone to live exotically every day. We support the pursuit of the productively exotic. Whether you are a cyclist, a runner, a climber, soccer player – we love hearing about what makes our community tick. There's something really gratifying about connecting one person to another with similar interests that otherwise would never have met.”
Kolsto makes sure that Oddly Correct’s role in that active culture goes far beyond the caffeine he can offer his customers. As someone who enjoys hiking around Swope Park with his family and riding bikes around the city, he knows firsthand that “KC is pretty damn hilly when it wants to be.”
Summing up why he loves Kansas City and its place in the outdoor scene, Kolsto proudly asserts, “A lot of damns are being given in this city that are beginning to show fruit in terms of art, food, music, drink & social practice. We are fighting to make our city a place that blows minds every day. That's why I get up in the morning.”