November 28, 2012
Chocolate Fish poised to expand to second location

Choc Fish espresso.JPG

Good news for fans of seriously good coffee: Chocolate Fish, which has won legions of fans at its downtown coffee shop, is opening a second location - in East Sacramento.

I'm told the new coffee shop, across the street from East Sacramento Hardware and OneSpeed Pizza on Folsom Boulevard, is expected to open to the public in January.

While Chocolate Fish's current location caters to the downtown work crowd and closes at 4 p.m. on weekdays, the East Sac shop should attract a different clientele and will stay open later.

The building will feature an open design concept, with the roastery operation on one side and the coffee bar on the other. Out front, there will be a small patio and, at some point, they may expand to include more outdoor seating in back of the building.

Chocolate Fish has expanded its reach slowly and steadily in recent years. It began roasting its own beans, selling them in select retail stores like Compton's, Corti Brothers and six Whole Foods. It also supplies coffee to several restaurants, including Hook & Ladder, Golden Bear, Formoli's, Masullo, Enotria, Magpie and Yellowbill.

new shop.jpg

Chocolate Fish is owned by Edie and Andy Baker, who live in East Sacramento. The new shop will compete with Coffee Works, Tupelo, Starbucks and Peet's.

I'm a fan of Chocolate Fish's coffee, especially its espresso. Anyone who follows me on Twitter has encountered more than a few photos of my espresso and "flat white" drinks. Lynn is a fan of the iced coffee, and the dogs love the huge smoke-free patio and appreciate the complimentary dog treats.

The owners and their staff have extremely high standards, but they manage to produce seriously good coffee without being overly serious or snooty about it. I have purchased their whole beans several times while shopping at Compton's and have found them to be excellent.

Still, those outside the downtown area might not be as familiar with Chocolate Fish as they should be.

"A lot of people don't know who we are and don't know we're serious coffee people and that we roast our own beans," said Edie Baker.

With this second location in a high-traffic area - and in a neighborhood that would surely welcome more great coffee -- that's about to change.

Blair Anthony Robertson is The Bee's restaurant critic. Follow him on Twitter, @blarob.


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