Melbourne coffee pioneer takes cafe culture to Los Angeles

Russell Beard, Ping Jin Ng and Mark Dundon at the site that will become Paramount Coffee Project in Los Angeles.
Russell Beard, Ping Jin Ng and Mark Dundon at the site that will become Paramount Coffee Project in Los Angeles. Photo: Supplied

After bestowing some of Melbourne's best coffee on its residents for more than a decade, Seven Seeds brew guru Mark Dundon has set his sights on Los Angeles, with Paramount Coffee Project set to open there in April.

Dundon will again team up with business partners Russell Beard and Ping Jin Ng, with whom he owns Paramount Coffee Project in Sydney's Surry Hills.

Having kept a close eye on the Los Angeles cafe scene during regular trips to the United States, the trio recently took out a lease on a property in the Fairfax neighbourhood. Dundon, with his family in tow, moved to Los Angeles earlier this month to oversee the project.

Set in an established hospitality area bordering lively West Hollywood, the small, 140-square-metre shop is undergoing construction and aims to give Angelenos their first real taste of Melbourne specialty coffee culture. The format – specialty coffee, interesting cafe food and great service – is familiar in Australia, but not so easy to find in the US.

"We're looking at a cafe operation much like PCP in Sydney – good food and specialty coffee," Dundon says, speaking from Los Angeles. "It sounds pretty simple, but the US market is used to lining up for coffee and not having a particularly detailed [combined] food menu and coffee venue."

Meanwhile, closer to home, Dundon's Seven Seeds business partner, Bridget Amor, is busy working on their new roasting operation, plus 50-seat cafe, in Alphington. Amor is looking at a July launch.