The owner of Local Lion may have 10 years of entrepreneurial and coffee experience under his belt, but for the last five years chocolate has been on the brain. While expanding the coffeehouse’s reach to King Street, he plans to put those cocoa thoughts to action and open a coffee bean-to-chocolate bar business.
Venture Chocolate and Wine Company is a separate business venture from Local Lion, the coffee roasting company, drive through espresso bar and donut shop, which opened in April 2012.
Venture Chocolate and Wine Company will offer an in-house chocolaterie, which includes a dessertery, charcuterie boards, wine tasting and a full espresso bar.
The business will occupy a 6,000 sq. ft. space on 595 West King St. The building was expanded from 1,500 sq.ft through demolition 18 months ago, the site originally housed two local businesses. Josiah Davis, Local Lion owner, said the site carries history, notably American guitarist Doc Watson played at the old music shop that used to occupy the property.
Davis said the chocolate and coffee bar concept started from an idea and developed into Venture Chocolate and Wine Company two years ago.
“We have taken inspiration from some different spots, but I have never seen anything that is quite like it, ” Davis said.
The business space includes a downstairs chocolate production space with the upstairs housing the wine, coffee and chocolate bar. Alongside Local Lion coffee roastery, Davis said the chocolaterie will source the ingredients for chocolate production straight 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 of Italy, France, Columbia or Uganda through the wine or the chocolate or the coffee,” Davis said.
Maddy Miller, Local Lion barista and social work master’s student, said she is looking forward to the continuation of the Local Lion community and the business it will bring to King Street.
“Community on King Street is also very well established. There are all the shops, and you see new shops like Common Good, things that are bringing community aspects to King Street,” Miller said. “I would love to see how well it is going to do, who it is going to bring into the shop.”
David Caldwell, a Boone local, said he understands Local Lions’ community impact. Caldwell said the centralized location, inviting atmosphere and mood of Local Lion keeps people coming back.
“What I love about Local Lion the most is not only the coffee but the people,” Caldwell said. “I have met a lot of people and made a lot of friends here, just at this coffee shop.”
Caldwell said he sees Venture Chocolate and Wine Company bringing a new option to the late-night Boone scene.
“I will definitely be going. I am super stoked because I think Boone does not have enough places for people to, sort of, hang out at night responsibly, so real handcrafted chocolate and handpicked wine is a much different atmosphere than going to a dive bar,” Caldwell said.
Local Lion will announce their new project to the public in-store and on Instagram April 27.
“Hopefully, they trust us with their coffee at Local Lion, and they will explore a new journey with us,” Davis said. “We will just continue to build on what we have here and just continue to host the community, really.”