Lee's Beans in Cove

A customer stops for some caffeine Wednesday, Jan. 27, 2021, at the drive-up window of Lee’s Beans, a new coffee shop open behind the Steakhouse at Cove.

COVE — The sleepy little town of Cove has been a bit less sleepy in the past couple of weeks.

Lee’s Beans, the walk-up and drive-thru coffee stand that opened at the Cove Steakhouse two Fridays past, has brought a caffeinated jolt to the town known for its Cherry Festival, and since then has seen fairly steady business.

“Everybody’s been really excited,” said owner Rob Hasse, who also owns the Steakhouse at Cove. “It’s great to still be able to do something for the community here.”

Hasse said he decided to open Lee’s Beans — named for his mother — in an effort to make up for lost business after the COVID-19 pandemic kept him from seating people inside his restaurant and winter weather made outdoor seating impractical. He noted that he hoped people would be excited to support a local business in its efforts to survive the pandemic.

The coffee shop takes the form of a large trailer, which Hasse remodeled into a coffee stand. The transformation into Lee’s Beans required Hasse to install a drive-up window and water fixtures, and he traveled as far as Umatilla County to pick up specialty espresso equipment.

“It’s been pretty much investment so far,” Hasse said, adding that it was too early to tell if the shop would be able to make up for his restaurant’s losses.

Hasse said that he would like to explore putting in a more permanent structure in the future if the stand proves successful, noting that he liked the idea of using the trailer to cater for events around the county. He also said he would like to redecorate the black trailer with a more festive appearance, more in line with the colorful signage currently adorning and advertising the stand.

“The black is a little dreary,” Hasse said.

Lee’s Beans opened after the city of Cove granted Hasse a nine-month permit to operate the coffee stand earlier this month.

Teara Howard, who Hasse hired on to run Lee’s Beans, said that she’s been interested in opening a coffee shop in Cove for some time.

“The only other place in town to get coffee is the gas station,” Howard said. “And they can’t do things like espresso. … It’s just gas station coffee.”

“Tiara makes a mean cup of joe,” Hasse said.

Lee’s Beans also will offer baked goods alongside Cove’s morning cup of Joe. Hasse, who said he’s an experienced baker, said the shop would be serving his signature “bananza bread,” homemade donuts and anything else his customers wanted.

“If they want to buy it, I want to sell it,” Hasse said with a grin.

Lee’s Beans can be found at the back of the Steakhouse at Cove at 505 S. Main from 6 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on weekdays and 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. on weekends.

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Editor's note: This story was updated Jan. 29, 2021, to correct the spelling of Teara Howard's name. 

Reporter

Former reporter with the La Grande Observer and Union County native. Coverage includes COVID-19, news stories, sports, business and community issues. If you've got a news tip, send it to news@lagrandeobserver.com.

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