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Hispanic-owned coffee shop serves experimental brews in Houston’s Second Ward

Segundo Coffee Lab is located in the newly refurbished Ironworks building in Houston’s Second Ward where husband and wife team Martha and Manuel Gil are serving up some innovative drinks while staying true to their roots and the vibrant hispanic culture within community.
Segundo Coffee Lab is located in the newly refurbished Ironworks building in Houston’s Second Ward where husband and wife team Martha and Manuel Gil are serving up some innovative drinks while staying true to their roots and the vibrant hispanic culture within community.

HOUSTON – Nothing goes better with an autumn afternoon than a good cup of coffee, and we know just the place to curb your caffeine cravings. Segundo Coffee Lab is located in the newly refurbished Ironworks building in Houston’s Second Ward where husband and wife team Martha and Manuel Gil are serving up some innovative drinks while staying true to their roots and the vibrant hispanic culture within community.

“We named it the coffee lab because we like to experiment with the drinks,” said Manuel. “We do CBD coffees and Delta-8 coffees as well, and so Segundo Coffee Lab is how it came.”

Segundo Coffee Lab is located inside the Ironworks building at 711 Milby St. Houston, TX 77023. (ROC City Media)

Adjacent to the coffee shop is Segundo Lab, which carries an array of Delta-8 and CBD products including edibles, oils and beauty products. But for Martha, her one true passion is coffee.

“This used to be many years ago Cameron Iron Works. Maxwell Coffee Plant used to store their finished coffee beans here after Cameron left,” said Martha. “I told Manuel, ‘We have got to bring coffee back to that building.’”

Segundo Coffee Lab is located inside the Ironworks building at 711 Milby St. Houston, TX 77023. (ROC City Media)

The historic Cameron Iron Works building was originally built in the 1930s as an oilfield equipment manufacturing facility. In 2019, the property was acquired by a Houston developer who specializes in historic restorations.

“The Ironworks building of course has been repurposed and brought back to life,” said Manuel. “The Ironworks now hosts small businesses like us. It’s a mix-use space.”

The hip space, decked out with modern shipping containers, hosts everything from office spaces to retail shops, and there are talks of expansion.

Segundo Coffee Lab is located inside the Ironworks building at 711 Milby St. Houston, TX 77023. (ROC City Media)

“I was just like, ‘Where do I sign? How can I get in here,’ because I’ve seen the vision that Ironworks had to offer,” said Martha.

Another reason the location was so appealing to Martha and Manuel was their personal connections to the Second Ward neighborhood.

“It’s a neighborhood I’ve always known because my grandma moved here in 1970,” said Manuel. “I didn’t know Second Ward as Second Ward. I knew it as Segundo Barrio. And so, as we were going through names, me and Martha were like, ‘Segundo Barrio - that’s what it’s got to be.’”

Manuel Gil, co-owner of Segundo Coffee Lab, pictured with his family. (Segundo Coffee Lab)

With Houston’s rapidly growing population and ever evolving business scene, Martha and Manuel hope Segundo Coffee Lab can be an anchor in the community, never losing touch with the hispanic culture deeply tied to Second Ward.

“We want to try to keep those roots alive, not forget what the neighborhood is truly about,” said Martha “We hope to always keep that alive and strive and just keep on giving because, ultimately, you know, this is an absolute blessing to be able to do.”

Segundo Coffee Lab is located inside the Ironworks building at 711 Milby St. Houston, TX 77023. (ROC City Media)

Segundo Coffee Lab is located in the Ironworks building at 711 Milby St. Houston, TX 77023. To connect with Martha and Manuel Gil, click here.


About the Author:

Olivia Kolanek is the Features Producer of KPRC 2's Houston Life. She joined the KPRC family in the summer of 2019 after working in non-profit communications for three years. She is passionate about creating content that features good people, good food or a good story. Olivia is a University of Houston alumna, Audible junkie and scuba novice.