Exciting news, we’ve signed the lease for shop number 2! It’s official! We found a funky/cool store in the cultural hot spot neighborhood of Capitol Hill, and we'll be building a "chocolate and coffeehouse". (Corner location above.)
A couple months ago we asked for your help choosing a neighborhood to focus our search. Thank you for all the feedback! We cast a wide net, looking for a very specific set of criteria, considered each suggestion in depth (especially Columbia City, so close!), and found what we believe is the ideal spot at the right time.
Before we get into the new shop, please consider participating in our Kickstarter project that ends in about a week. Your participation will help us buy the large quantities of packaging required by print shops, and you get an equal value of chocolate for your pledge. Thank you in advance!
Ok, on to the new store.
Intrigue Chocolate & Coffeehouse
Imagine walking through the front doors of our new chocolate and coffeehouse and being greeted by the delicious smell fresh coffee, warm quick breads, and cacao beans in the mill. Imagine ordering a cup of coffee from a knowledgeable and friendly barista that suggests you try this origin chocolate from Ghana after you take your first sip, so you can experience the chocolatey and plum notes of the coffee without distraction. Imagine sitting comfortably in a tall window with your cozy mug and small chocolate next to a warm slice of banana bread, enjoying the grey Seattle light and soft rain on the skyline.
Here's a few photos of the space under construction to give you a sense of the bones:
This will be a new concept space for us. We’ve always wanted to create a comfortable environment for our customers to spend time and interact with the staff and each other with fine food and drink as the backdrop. Now we can provide such a space.
Full coffee service is a relatively new endeavor for us, so we are going to partner with a local coffee roaster Conduit Coffee. They have the specialty knowledge we need to do coffee correctly, and in exchange we’ll work and train on their equipment and serve their award winning roasted beans. (More on Conduit in another section.)
Chocolate will be the extra detail that we hope puts the experience over the top. We want to provide the best chocolate beverage experience available, from hot cocoas, to mochas, to sipping chocolate, even to serving a small piece of chocolate with each cup of coffee. Chocolate is a simple luxury; we hope to make it an enjoyable and healthy part of your daily routine.
It’s important to us that the space be inviting and friendly. We want you to spend time there, and we want to get it right. Be ready for us to ask you over and over again, “what makes a space comfortable for you?” and if you are a resident, “what do you look for on Capitol Hill”.
YES, THERE IS PARKING. The building has a few spots available for customers in their reasonably priced underground lot. During the day there is plenty of parking right out front, which fills up as people get off of work. Being able to drive to Intrigue was a common request for this second location, and now you can!
The new shop is on the busy street of Madison and the surprisingly small and charming 15th Avenue. The high ceilings and large glass windows are ideal for capturing as much light as possible and making the space feel generous.
It’s larger than we initially thought we’d pursue. Altogether it’s about 1900 sq ft (we were looking for around 1200 sq ft for this concept), but the way it’s laid out makes it ideal for what we want to accomplish. In addition to a café space, there is a kitchen in the back to hold the scullery and give us a few extra tables for chocolate production. It will also act as an emergency backup kitchen in case - heaven forbid - anything were to happen to our current kitchen.
Previously the space was setup as a juice bar called “Healo”. They served delicious smoothies and organic foods, but decided to move their business primarily online focusing on health supplements. That’s great news for us because the space has been largely built out already, from plumbing to electrical to HVAC and ADA accessibility. We’ll be tackling the fixtures, paint, and installations that support our retail style, but we will not have to build out infrastructure as extensively as we did for Pioneer Square even though this is a bigger space by almost five times.
Here's how it looked when Healeo was in full operation:
We’ll be working with Conduit Coffee to build and train the coffee service portion. Coffee is competitive in this city, and we want to make sure we are serving a cup of coffee that we love (because then we’ll want to share it with you, and at least some of you will agree it’s awesome… as in, have-to-have-one-every-day kind of awesome).
We’ve carried Conduit Coffee in our shop for almost 5 years, so many of you are already familiar with the brand. If you aren’t familiar, then suffice to say Conduit has won several awards recently, locally and nationally.
We aren’t sure yet who will be providing the pastries, but we’ll want to work with someone local and reputable. Any suggestions?
The neighborhood of Capitol Hill is in the middle of a massive culture shift due to the increasing density and change in demographics brought on by the expansion of our tech industry. We want to be respectful of Capitol Hill’s past by paying homage to the styles, free spiritedness, and colorful expressions found there. We also want to be a new contribution to the cultural fabric of the neighborhood by offering up a different kind of art. We are embracing the fact that people need to gather somewhere, and people tend to gather where they are invited to be. So, all are invited.
We will probably not be open until January at the earliest. But we do hope to have some chocolate pop-up in the store for the December holiday season. We’ll keep you posted along the way! Thank you for all your support!