The owner of Local Lion may have 10 years of entrepreneurial and coffee experience under his belt, but for the past five years, chocolate has been on the brain. While expanding the cafe’s reach in King Street, he plans to put these cocoa ideas into action and open a chocolate bean coffee bar business.
Venture Chocolate and Wine Company is a separate business venture from local lioncoffee roasting business, run through the espresso bar and donut shop, which opened in April 2012.
Venture Chocolate and Wine Company will offer an on-site chocolate shop, which includes serving, charcuterie boards, wine tasting and a full espresso bar.
The business will occupy a 6,000 square foot space at 595 West King St. The building was expanded by 1,500 square feet by demolition 18 months ago, the site originally housed two local businesses. Josiah Davis, owner of Local Lion, said the site carries a story, including American guitarist Doc Watson played at the former music store that occupied the property.
Davis said the chocolate and coffee bar concept started as an idea and morphed into the Venture Chocolate and Wine Company two years ago.
“We took inspiration from different places, but I’ve never seen anything like it,” Davis said.
The commercial space includes a chocolate production area on the ground floor, with the upper floor housing the wine, coffee and chocolate bar. Alongside coffee roaster Local Lion, Davis said the chocolate factory would source ingredients for chocolate production directly from farmers. The company’s wine bar and chocolate lounge will focus on pairing complementary chocolate and wine.
“We want people to experience the terrier from Italy, France, Colombia or Uganda through wine, chocolate or coffee,” Davis said.
Maddy Miller, Local Lion barista and Master of Social Work student, said she is looking forward to the continued Local Lion community and the business it will bring to King Street.
“The King Street community is also very well established. There are all the stores, and you see new stores like Common Good, things that bring community aspects to King Street,” Miller said. “I’d like to see how well it turns out, who it brings into the shop.”
Boone resident David Caldwell said he understands the impact local Lions have on the community. Caldwell said Local Lion’s centralized location, inviting atmosphere and vibe keep people coming back.
“What I love most about Local Lion isn’t just the coffee, it’s the people,” Caldwell said. “I met a lot of people and made a lot of friends here, just in this cafe.”
Caldwell said he sees Venture Chocolate and Wine Company bringing a new option to the late-night Boone scene.
“I’m definitely going to go. I’m super happy because I think Boone doesn’t have enough places for people to go out at night responsibly, so real artisan chocolate and handpicked wine is a very different atmosphere than going to a dive bar,” Caldwell said.
Local Lion will announce its new project to the public in store and on instagram April 27.
“I hope they trust us with their coffee at Local Lion, and explore a new journey with us,” Davis said. “We’ll just continue to build on what we have here and continue to house the community, really.”