Owners hoping Emerald coffee shop will become gem in downtown Steamboat
When the space that Ani Tikku and Walter Leskiff owned became available this spring, the couple decided not to lease it again, but to pursue their dream of opening their own business, Emerald, and making Steamboat Springs their full-time home.
“We wanted to create a warm, welcoming place for people to sit for a meal and spend time with friends or family,” Tikku said. “When we bought (the space) in 2016, or maybe 2017, the idea was at some point that we would be moving here full time and utilize it for our own business.”
A few months ago, when Haus of Cucu moved to a new location just a few doors away, the couple decided the time was right to start working on their own concept, Emerald, in the space at 700 Yampa St., Unit A105.
Emerald is planning a soft opening at 9 a.m. on Saturday, July 2. Tikku expects Emerald to be open from 7 a.m. – 7 p.m. Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday, as well as 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. Tikku said she hopes to expand hours after hiring more staff members.
The couple, who have lived part time in Steamboat since 2013, named the shop after Emerald Mountain located across the river. The cafe will offer plenty of items that are found on a traditional coffee shop menu, but Tikku said this concept goes beyond breakfast. Emerald will offer an all-organic drink selection that goes from coffee and tea to sparkling wine and beer. There will also be a selection of organic foods on the menu with a wide range of price points with hopes of making a menu that is appetizing for everyone.
“We will have some of the different sparkling wines from different regions in addition to the nice, higher-end Champagnes,” Tikku said. “We wanted to have all organic and fair-trade items on the menu — that was something that was important to us. We also want to be an alternative when you want to go out and celebrate something.”
The menu will be filled with organic choices including drip coffee, specialty coffee, and espresso. There will also be cold brew coffee, pour over coffee and bullet-proof coffee, a blended coffee drink with MCT oil and a spice kick. MCT oil is a supplement made from a type of fat called medium-chain triglyceride. It is said to be a source of energy and may fight bacterial growth, help protect your heart, and aid in managing diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, epilepsy, and autism.
Customers will also find smoothies, as well as golden milk, ice tea, chai, matcha and hot chocolate.
Emerald will also offer a large selection of loose-leaf teas from Mountain Rose Teas including English Breakfast, Ceylon, classic chai, orange spice, Nepalese black, lapsang souchong, oolong, gunpowder green and white peony, while herbal teas will include yerba mate, honey bush, hibiscus high, turmeric ginger and mint teas.
Emerald is still waiting for its liquor license but plans to offer sparkling wines from Champagne, France and Lambrusco, Italy as well as selections from Armenia, South Africa, and Spain as well as domestic wines from Oregon, California and Washington. Emerald also plans to offer a selection of craft beers. Tikku said there will also be beers and sparkling wines without alcohol for those looking for non-alcoholic choices.
The food offered by Emerald will offer everything from house-made treats like organic zucchini-apple bread and cherry upside-down cake to blueberry muffins and organic cookies. There will also be organic pumpkin mousse and organic chia-maca pudding.
There will be nut butter honey and jam sandwich and smoked salmon on sourdough, Armenian lavash roll and mixed nuts as well as a selection of authentic Indian Samosas, with caviar and roe rounding out a diverse menu.
“We like to serve what we like to eat ourselves kind of on maybe on the healthier side,” Tikku said. “We also want to have a different selection of food and drinks. I’m half Armenian and half Indian, and Walter is originally Ukrainian so we offer some different Armenian coffees, and other items on the menu.”
The space, which was Haus of Cucu, has been renovated. The owners found second-hand furniture from the Habitat for Humanity ReStore in the Vail Valley and stools from Annie’s Home Consignments to create a welcoming dining area. Right now, Emerald is featuring the work of painter Madeleine Burrough.
The couple lived in Houston for five years, but purchased property in Steamboat in 2013 and has been working to make the mountain town their full-time home.
“We really liked the name Emerald because it’s just seems to be the heart of town,” Tikku said. “We also want to be the heart, the gem of the town … a warm, welcoming place for people to sit for a meal and spend time with friends or family. “
To reach John F. Russell, call 970-871-4209, email jrussell@SteamboatPilot.com or follow him on Twitter @Framp1966.
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