Several of life's greatest indulgences collide in a new cafe from one Christopher Gronbeck. Fremont's Wine Tea Chocolate will serve as a—you guessed it—wine bar, tea house, and coffee and chocolate shop rolled into one.
Naturally, neighbor Theo Chocolate will factor into the mix, particularly the drinks list of hot chocolates and sipping chocolates simmered with various spices. But otherwise expect a lot of new names in all sorts of cacao-y concoctions. "People probably have not heard of a lot of these," Gronbeck says of his producers.
He gets pretty excited talking about taking patrons "beyond what they're expecting." As an example, Gronbeck has been researching how Mayan and Incan cultures made use of chocolate, and may showcase his findings when the spot opens in early September at 3417 Evanston Avenue.
Gronbeck is big on the bean-to-bar concept—like the farm-to-table thinking steering our restaurant scene—and will make small-batch, artisan chocolatiers his focus. This could result in some sticker shock—don't be surprised to see $9 price tags—but the difference in quality is, in a word, "amazing." He's holding the single-origin coffees, wines, and teas to similar standards. Gronbeck grew particularly fond of the latter about 10 years ago after realizing just how complex and historically rich it is.
"A big part of the vision is education," says Gronbeck, so he hopes to create a community space where guest speakers and producers, classes, and tastings are a regular thing. A teacher himself for years, Gronbeck may take the floor once opening hiccups iron out.
Wine Tea Chocolate will function as a sidewalk cafe by day, with the north side dedicated to outside seating and pastries from Macrina and provisions from Molly's Salads. Evening will bring table service and a menu of light, vaguely Mediterranean-inspired fare.