They say life is like a box of chocolates, but can the same also be said for a cup of hot Colombian coffee? I’m going to go ahead and say that you can say that. If anyone wants to challenge me, then you’ve never had coffee like this before.
I’m here today to tell you about the upcoming tenants who happen to be back to back in Poe West, LaRue Fine Chocolate and Unlocked Coffee Roasters. I decided to pair these two together because chocolate and coffee are two of my favorite things. What I’m about to share with you is way more than just chocolate and coffee, though. You won’t know which one to try out first: they’re both that good. Here’s your firsthand look into these next-door neighbors, so get ready for your mouth to water.
LaRue Fine Chocolate
First up in this week’s tenants tour is Elizabeth McDaniel, chocolatier and passion-driven owner of LaRue Fine Chocolate. She wants to share a story with you each time you take a bite of those delicious chocolates.
What started as a hobby with her niece while she worked full-time as a wine rep (she’s had a tough career, right?) turned into a full-time gig after her chocolate gift was seen throughout the Upstate at various farmers markets and local hot spots like Community Tap and others.
Named after her mom, Dora LaRue, Elizabeth wants your experience to be homey and comfortable. Aside from her wonderful craft chocolate creations, she’ll offer cakes, unique ice cream, and other sweets, which you can choose to pair with wine, beer, and spirits. Already tight with Carolina Bauernhaus owners, who have used LaRue before for pairings, Elizabeth will have four beers on tap at all times, including a few from neighbors Bauernhaus and Six & Twenty Distillery as well. You’ll also have the option to fill your charcuterie board needs here, so don’t worry if sweets aren’t your thing.
Elizabeth wants to keep everything as local as possible, so you can expect seeing other community names in the space. When you walk in, you’ll see a huge mural of the cacao bean and cushiony pews throughout the space, creating a calm and Zen hangout atmosphere. You won’t be disappointed when you’re here, so grab a friend and visit LaRue as soon as it opens.
Unlocked Coffee Roasters
If you’re feeling like doing some work, looking for a cool new space to visit with friends, and are not in need of a chocolate or alcohol fix, have no fear. You can head over next door and you’ll find an entirely different vibe, mixed with smells of freshly roasted coffee and Colombian cheese bread, which literally melts in your mouth. For all of my gluten-free friends out there (and just anyone, honestly), this treat will be your new heaven.
Originally from Colombia, owner Andres and his wife Rocio set out with a vision to bring their culture to their new town, but they didn’t know what that would look like initially. Once they determined coffee was their path, they welcomed the opportunity to start a business and began laying the groundwork that led to a signed lease in April of 2019.
With the support of the Hispanic Alliance, the Camargos developed a business plan that reflected their values and vision, which is all coming to life this month. At the heart of their business is the experience they want to bring to their customers: making everyone feel like they belong through good coffee and conversations.
With an only online presence over the last year and a half, Andres and his team are excited to bring their ideas to life. Not only will they sell their in-house local roasted coffee, but they’ll also offer a delicious array of other drinks and snacks, including tea, toast, smoothies and acai bowls, and don’t forget about the Colombian cheese bread I mentioned earlier. Each drink comes out in a local artisan-made mug, which will be for sale at a later date.
Unlocked plans to build their team as they see fit, but they are intentional about providing job opportunities for everyone and intend to join other Poe West tenants in getting plugged into their local community. They have already worked closely with 98 Ventures and will offer private event space as needed for other groups as well.
When I met with Andres, we were visited by a few coffee lovers looking for their new favorite coffee spot in town. Greeted with welcome arms, it was noted by Andres immediately that we were all from different places like California, Maryland, Georgia, and Colombia, yet we were talking like old friends over a cup of coffee. This is the true atmosphere at Unlocked, blending community and culture, and you won’t be disappointed.
So…was I right? Is your mouth watering yet? Whether you are a chocolate lover, a coffee lover, or both, you are going to love these neighboring spaces and the feeling of belonging you will find in both.
Stay tuned for details on these openings, coming soon.
Happy eating and socializing (when we can again),
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Developed with love by The Furman Co.