Cozy East Cambridge cafe Curio Coffee (441 Cambridge St.), located steps from Lechmere, could soon begin transforming into Curio Wine several evenings a week. This week, the three-year-old shop applied for the city’s approval for a wine and malt license and a midnight closing time; a decision should come through in the next month. (See update below.)
If all goes as planned, Curio Wine could debut around early or mid-March, per owner Justin Pronovost. “I’m curating a small, by-the-glass wine list from mostly old world, cooler climate wine regions, especially France and Italy, to showcase the grapes and terroir I enjoy drinking,” said Pronovost. “Natural wine for us is organic growing practices and minimal intervention with little to no additives.”
In Boston and beyond, there’s been an increased focus on natural wines over the last several years; Curio Wine will join local venues like Rebel Rebel, Tasting Counter, Nathálie, and Haley.Henry in featuring them. There’s no official definition for natural wine, but most proponents of it look for sustainable, biodynamic, or organic winemaking processes with few additives and a hands-off or “low tech” approach.
During the day, Curio is known for its single food option — Liège waffles with various toppings, such as whipped ricotta and blueberry compote. (Curio used to experiment with different flavors of dough for the waffles but recently switched over to playing with different toppings instead.) Similarly, Curio Wine will feature a short food menu: hot dogs, plus some savory waffles.
“Instead of the cheese and charcuterie board we all know and love at every wine bar, we’re doing hot dogs,” said Pronovost. “Grilled dogs; grilled, buttered buns; and some rotating toppings. It should be fun!”
The savory waffles will be available during the day as well. “We’re thinking they would be a good quick lunch option or afternoon snack,” said Pronovost, hinting at upcoming flavors like a croque monsier waffle, topped with ham and cheese and smothered with bechamel, as well as an “homage to avocado toast.”
Keep an eye on Curio Coffee’s Instagram account for updates leading up to the debut of Curio Wine evenings (and for pretty pictures of waffles).
Update, 2/6/19: Curio Coffee has received approval for its beer and wine license and plans to debut Curio Wine in March; stay tuned for an exact date.
Update, 5/2/19: Today, May 2, Curio Coffee will debut its 15-seat wine bar. To start, it will be operating from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Thursday through Sunday, with about a dozen natural wines (glasses and bottles), hot dogs and grilled cheese (featuring Hi-Rise bread), and a vegan snack option. A few weeks down the line, the hours and menu will likely expand. No reservations; just stop by.
• Curio Coffee Coverage on Eater [EBOS]