About

Our Company

Staff

Any of our suc­cess depends upon our staff. That’s why we take care to hire peo­ple who are com­mit­ted to our vision and mis­sion. In return, we have some of the best employ­ees that we could ever hope for.

Train­ing

We train any new hire to learn all aspects of the job. From wash­ing dishes to prepar­ing com­plex espresso drinks, we ask every­one to do it all. While it takes more time and energy to train peo­ple in all of these skills, our hope is that peo­ple have flex­i­bil­ity in their jobs.

Com­mit­ment

Because we train our staff in all aspects of the job and because those skills take some time to hone, we typ­i­cally request a 1 year min­i­mum commitment.

Espresso Drinks

Unlike other larger com­peti­tors in the cof­fee indus­try, we are com­mit­ted to main­tain­ing the art and craft of bev­er­age prepa­ra­tion. Our bar train­ing is inten­sive and even senior staff mem­bers con­tin­u­ally check in with one another to make sure that the qual­ity of their drinks is up to par.

Trans­porta­tion

The major­ity of our staff walks or bikes to work, even dur­ing the win­ter. We are big fans of bicy­cles and are excited that so many of our staff and cus­tomers are also cycling enthusiasts.

Own­ers

Bloc 11 is owned by Tucker Lewis and Jen­nifer Park, the same two own­ers of Diesel Cafe, located in Davis Square, Somerville. When Tucker and Jen decided to open their sec­ond store at 11 Bow Street, they had known each other for 11 years. They met at Herrell’s Ice Cream in Har­vard Square when Jen was 18 and Tucker was 26.

Here are some inter­est­ing and some not-so-interesting facts about Tucker and Jennifer:

About Tucker

Tucker is a girl-child born on a Mon­day who was con­ceived in Ghana while her par­ents were in the Peace Corps. She is often seen car­ry­ing stacks of papers, shuf­fling them around and gen­er­ally keep­ing things very orga­nized. Many con­sider Tucker to be the glue that holds Diesel and Bloc together. Lit­er­ally. Tucker is one of the hand­i­est peo­ple on staff and is our num­ber one fix-it per­son. In addi­tion to being a fan of DeWalt power tools, she is also a beer lover. Unlike her long-lasting affec­tion for beer, Tucker had never had a cup of cof­fee before we opened Diesel and has yet to drink a cup black. She is often seen try­ing to keep Parky focused and relaxed.

About Jen­nifer

Jen­nifer is com­monly known as Parky, Puh-Puh, Pooh­peege, or Shenks. She usu­ally responds to any of the above, because she has been known to have super­sonic hear­ing. Mostly, though, Jen­nifer can be seen rid­ing her bike back and forth on Somerville Ave between the two stores, singing bad pop music by the lat­est teen queen. Some­times, you may see her in black run­ning around the streets of neigh­bor­ing towns. Other than that, she is usu­ally seen eat­ing, drink­ing cof­fee, or squint­ing because she doesn’t have her glasses on. 11 is also her favorite number.

About the Two: 1+1=2

Tucker and Jen­nifer are both the exact same height and weight. Strange, given that they are both 4 feet 11.5 inches (give or take a quar­ter inch). Despite some phys­i­cal sim­i­lar­i­ties, they are about as dif­fer­ent as Tom and Jerry. Tucker can sit still and con­cen­trate for hours at a time. Jen­nifer could start a fire under her feet run­ning in the same cir­cle over and over. (She has started a few small fires….) Tucker likes to relax and joke around. Jen­nifer is pretty silly but mostly seri­ous. Tucker would rather sit on the beach with a mar­garita while Jen­nifer would be scrolling through her PDA check­ing sales and emails. Tucker has worked at Diesel Wednes­day, Fri­day, and Sun­day nights since we opened in 1999. Jen­nifer is never in the same spot at the same time twice. But, some­how, together, they bal­ance each other out and hope­fully do not drive their awe­some staff too crazy with their quirks.

Bloc 11 Cafe

bloc\’blak\noun

1a: a com­bi­na­tion of per­sons, groups or nations form­ing a unit with a com­mon inter­est or purpose

1b: a group of nations or per­sons united by a treaty or agree­ment for mutual sup­port or joint action

2: a group of leg­is­la­tors or per­sons who act together for come com­mon pur­pose irre­spec­tive of party lines

3: a word we chose because it embraced the spirit of own­ing an inde­pen­dent café-uniting peo­ple, cre­at­ing com­mu­nity and build­ing from this bloc(k)

eleven\i-‘le-ven\ noun

1: –see num­ber set

2: the 11th num­ber in a set

3: our bow street address

4: the num­ber of years the two own­ers have known each other in 2007, the year that the busi­ness was founded

The name Bloc 11 is a union of two words that encom­passes the spirit and inten­tion of our busi­ness. It is a reflec­tion of what we hope we can achieve through own­ing and oper­at­ing a cafe in Union Square.

LOCATION

Why Union Square?

Somerville has become our home. While we have lived in and out of Somerville over the past decade, we have made Davis Square our home away from home. Nei­ther of the own­ers has ever lived more than 2 miles away from the stores and keep­ing it close has been impor­tant to us.

Union Square had been a place where we spent time, fre­quent­ing places like Precinct, Union Square Bistro, Sherman’s, Eat, Reli­able Mar­ket, The Inde­pen­dent, Jour­ney­man, and Capone’s. The large num­ber of fine eater­ies in Union Square appealed to us as did the idea of stay­ing in Somerville and join­ing a new com­mu­nity. Union Square Main Streets and Mimi Graney played an inte­gral part of wel­com­ing us warmly to the new neigh­bor­hood and the strong arts com­mu­nity, out­side per­for­mances, and the farmer’s mar­ket all drew us to this square. The diver­sity in peo­ple, cul­tures, inter­ests, and aes­thet­ics all com­pelled us to Union. Aptly named, as this neigh­bor­hood does feel like a union of all things that we like.

11 Bow Street

When we first learned of the vacant bank build­ing at 11 Bow Street we were imme­di­ately intrigued. Jen and Tucker orig­i­nally met 11 years prior scoop­ing ice cream in a space that was for­merly a bank. It was in that same bank build­ing where the idea of Diesel was first born. These rea­sons alone com­pelled us to take a look. We weren’t actively look­ing to open a sec­ond loca­tion when we went to look at the space. That being said, we had been float­ing the idea between our­selves for sev­eral years. Own­ing and oper­at­ing Diesel took up so much of our energy that we knew it would need to be the per­fect cir­cum­stance in order for us to take the plunge for a sec­ond time.

Spaces are sup­posed to be just that, 4 walls with a lit­tle embell­ish­ing along the way, but this space became our new love. Every­thing about it from the vaults to the court­yard to the beau­ti­ful brick lined inte­rior walls were things that we had always wanted. So, when this space came to us, we could not say no. Tucker believes in fate. And while Jen­nifer may have a spe­cial inter­est in the super­nat­ural, it tends to veer towards vam­pires and UFO’s. But, there is some­thing admit­tedly fate­ful about a bank turned cafe, because we met in an old bank. Before Herrell’s opened at 25 Dun­ster, it was the old Cam­bridge Sav­ings Bank. 11 is also Jennifer’s favorite num­ber and we could not help but see these facts as “signs”. Signs that we had found our new home.

Lit­tle Known Facts

  1. Bloc’s floors were re-done 4 times in the first year.
  2. Before we occu­pied 11 Bow Street, it had been a bank for over 70 years. We have main­tained all the orig­i­nal vaults. We found evi­dence of it being The Somerville National Bank, Shaw­mut Bank, and East Asian Savings.
  3. In the inte­rior brick walls at Bloc, there is one lone brick that we saved from Diesel’s orig­i­nal build out.
  4. Bloc11 was almost named Apella Cafe, Pal­let Cafe, Work, or Ounce. Instead, we named a salad at Diesel “The Apella”, a sand­wich at Bloc “The Pal­let” and Tucker’s dog “Ounce”. It all worked out in the end.
  5. Brooks Mostue from Mostue and Asso­ciates was our first cus­tomer. He was also our first cus­tomer at Diesel. I think he has the monop­oly on that market.
  6. Seven is Jennifer’s sec­ond favorite num­ber. Close sec­ond to 11. Prime numbers….That’s how we arrived at the sand­wich name: “The 777”.
  7. Bloc’s Lamar­zocco espresso machine was cus­tom painted to match the green in Bloc’s logo.
  8. The Bloc logo was designed after a blos­som from the dog­wood tree in the mid­dle of our court­yard that blooms every spring. It is some­times hot pink and some­times bright green.
  9. Dur­ing con­struc­tion, we found an old dumb­waiter buried behind 2 lay­ers of sheetrock. It still had a green ket­tle sit­ting on it.
  10. Dur­ing con­struc­tion, we also found a huge gold ring with a large gem in it behind the safety deposit boxes in one of the vaults. Jen deter­mined with her blind eye that it was worth­less and threw it away. Tucker was mad.
  11. The Elm” is named after Diesel’s street address.

 

Share