Baristas by Day, DJs by Night

November 06, 2019 Written by

Close your eyes for a minute and picture your favorite café, where the sounds of grinding, tamping and the espresso machine's own natural music complement the background soundtrack. Your ears perk up to the barista who knows the simple power of a nice hello and takes the time to explain the characteristics of the house brew. It sends a message that coffee-making is handled with care here, one at a time, without the assembly-line approach. This is the scene that greets you at The People’s Coffee (221 E. Broadway Street).

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Co-owners Omar Jamhour and Allen Salazar are in the business of blending beans and beats. By day, they whip up a mean cup of joe at The People’s Coffee. By night, they are Z & Z: a high-octane EDM (electronic dance music) DJ/producer duo, bridging the gap between multiple electronic music genres.

In 2015, a mutual friend (who happened to be the original owner of The People’s Coffee that Jamhour visited daily) introduced the two. Jamhour (a DJ) and Salazar (a DJ/producer) started working together and realized that when they blended their different styles of music, the fusion was electric. They integrate music influence from their Middle Eastern and Latin backgrounds to create a wide variety of genres and tempos, from dubstep to house to future bass.

Looking to find more time to focus on their music, they left their jobs and purchased The People’s Coffee. Salazar had worked in various coffee shops and Jamhour brought his experience in business to the table. Owning a coffee shop gave a way to make money and pursue their careers in the music business. Three years later, they are still going as strong as the dark roast coffee they brew and performing at Salt Lake’s biggest nightclubs and music festivals.

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The People’s Coffee is literally all about people. They showcase businesses within the community. Local coffee roaster Caffe Ibis is the signature bean that your mocha, cold brew or latte is made of. If coffee is not on the agenda, fresh cold-pressed juices from the neighborhood Pulp Lifestyle Kitchen, Thai tea and rich hot cocoa quench the thirst of any guest.

Hungry? You will be when you see the variety of goodies behind the glass. Satisfy your sweet tooth with creations from Salt Lake’s own Fillings and Emulsions. Melt-in-your-mouth macarons are offered in a rainbow of colors and flavors, along with tarts, cakes and pastries. Want something more savory? The barista puts on another hat as a panini artist and crafts the perfect turkey or veggie sandwich.

Besides supporting local businesses, Jamhour and Salazar are all about showing off the artistic talent within the community. As you walk in, browse the west wall, which is peppered with artwork done by local artists, hoping to find a breakthrough. The shop gives a place to hang their art to be sold, without taking a penny of commission (which is practically unheard of at most coffee shops).

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An open mic night is another way The People’s Coffee likes to reach out. As artists themselves, Salazar and Jamhour like to host budding musicians, comedians and poets and give them a taste of what live performance is all about, in a fun, judgment-free zone. Stop by on the second Saturday of the month and check out some local entertainment.

The music and coffee worlds collide at The People’s Coffee. As DJs, they spend their time reading the crowd on the dance floor and they do the same thing when people come into the shop. They try and understand what customers like and don't like, by watching their reactions. Being aware of the audience and staying true to their product is where Jamhour and Salazar excel.

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Check them out!
221 E Broadway Street
Salt Lake City, Utah 84111
(801) 906-8761