Grounded, a small artisan coffee spot on Main Street (869) Willimantic, opened about a week ago, and it's been all the buzz. Multiple people suggested I stop in and give it a whirl. It's important to note that I rarely drink coffee lately, but I was happy to make an exception for Grounded.
According to their website:
We couldn't be more excited to announce the launch of a new, quality focused coffee shop in northeastern CT. We are looking forward to highlighting coffee roasters from all over the East Coast who we think do an exceptional job sourcing and roasting coffee. Keep up on our website or follow our Instagram and Facebook pages for all the exciting news leading up to our open, including our pop-up stands all over town. We can't wait to see you all soon.
At first glance, it's almost hard to identify Grounded off the street, save for a few tables outside and an open sign on the rustic door. The building is very homey, and at first glance, the interior is rustic, yet minimalist. This aesthetic works really well in 'organic Willimantic' and the raw wood and burlap touches lend well to the vibe. With this aesthetic, in most coffee shops, some air of pretentiousness is almost expected, however I was pleasantly surprised by how welcoming and friendly the staff was. I met Nick the barista and Victoria the owner, and both were exceptionally sweet and eager to explain the menu.
Victoria manages the Kerri Studio and Gallery on Main Street, and was inspired to open up a coffeeshop where the atmosphere lent itself to sitting and staying awhile, and that's how Grounded was born.
I tried the Quiche, with ham, asparagus, broccoli, mushroom, and onion, and Madison went full out and got a slice of blackberry pie, and we both ordered iced mocha lattes, with almond milk. Everything was delicious, reasonably priced and presented beautifully. The menu is small, but according to Victoria, it's quickly growing. Bagels are available from Bagel One, and other food is sourced from Willimantic as well. Victoria is looking to seasonally edit and switch out menu items, and keep it very fluid, including seasonal local items.
Coffee, according to Nick, is a community based cultural drink, and Grounded expands coffee culture into an incredibly accessible, welcoming atmosphere, while also providing fair wages to all involved, as well as creating a great product. The name is a nod to coffee, while also alluding to the ethical, fair trade mindset that they strive for. The non-judgey atmosphere allows patrons to learn more about what they're drinking, why ethical production is important, while also still receiving the quality drink they'd get at a snooty, high brow coffee spot.
I learned loads about coffee and how the coffee culture works from Nick, so expect another post soon, detailing the ins and outs of the coffee world, what to look for, and what to run from.
Grounded is a great shop, with a great atmosphere, and I can't wait to come back. I'm dying to try the honey latte, as well as the manually brewed blends. Hit up Grounded, you won't be disappointed.