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Side Dishes: Two beverage hot spots change ownership

Visitors to Dobrá Tea will notice a few cosmetic changes this week. After closing for some renovations on Tuesday, the tearoom will reopen the next day with a new kitchen arrangement and a fresh coat of paint, reports Andrew Snavely. One change that's not visible: the new ownership. In July, Snavely, formerly the manager, purchased Dobrá from Amanda Verdery, who recently moved to the West Coast.

Snavely seized the opportunity because "my heart and my passion are in this place and this company," he enthuses. "I've been wanting to open a tearoom [in Boston] for quite some time, but this was offered to me, and Vermont is my home."

Snavely says he won't be reducing Dobrá's selection of brews, snacks and accessories, but he is adding a few things. "There are a lot more teapots: Chinese Yixing, Czech pottery and Japanese Tokoname." As for food, he's "stepped it up by focusing on healthy vegan and wheat-free desserts, all locally made by different bakers." On the tea side: "Lots of new pu-er [double-fermented] teas and Japanese greens are fresh."

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At Viva Espresso, the ownership hasn't changed so much as halved. When the family-friendly café with an intense focus on local sourcing opened, there were two moms at the helm: Heather Bauman and Megan Munson-Warnken. Now Bauman is the sole owner.

"It had been two years, and Megan was ready for the next thing, so we hammered out a plan and here we are," she relates. "Both of us had been in it from the very beginning, and even before that, so it seemed like a quiet evolution. We just moved it from a partnership to a sole proprietorship."

Bauman says regulars should expect no real changes: The café will continue to be a "reflection of the community" and a "melting pot of visions."

Meanwhile, folks outside Vermont are taking note of the Old North End neighborhood anchor: An upcoming issue of Delta's in-flight magazine will feature Viva Espresso, Café Alta Gracia and the Vermont Coffee Company.

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Suzanne Podhaizer

Suzanne Podhaizer

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Contributor Suzanne Podhaizer is an award-winning food writer (and the former Seven Days food editor) as well as a chef, farmer, and food-systems consultant. She has given talks at the Stone Barns Center for Agriculture's "Poultry School" and its flagship "Young Farmers' Conference." She can slaughter a goose,... more

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