Perhaps it's the free chocolate shots (normally $3) being given out all week, or else, just curious King West locals taking a peek at the new arrival, but SOMA's space is packed with customers on this inaugural afternoon. Some are browsing the different bars and chocolate treats, others are scoping out the handmade truffles delicately displayed behind glass, while the rest check out the seating for twelve in the back and windowed chocolate lab and bakery.
"We had been looking for a new space for about two years," Cynthia Leung, who owns SOMA along with husband David Castellan, tells me as I catch her behind the bar. "Production just got so crowded at the Distillery ," she says, referring to SOMA's original location , "so we were really looking to open another location."
This space on King near Spadina had been unoccupied for about a year or so before SOMA decided to sign a lease. The shop has all of the great features King West structures are known for including high ceilings, lots of natural light, and exposed brick walls. Cynthia and David have added in little details including pottery lamps made by a member of their staff and massive log bench made from reclaimed timber, designed by Brothers Dressler.
The SOMA on King has pretty much the same offerings as SOMA Distillery including single-origin bars, house-made gelato, espresso drinks using 49th Parallel coffee and more, but additional focus here will be paid to bakery offerings, which will be prepared on-site by chef Simon Blackwell. I sample his focaccia, which is warm and chewy with just the right amount of herbs, while David tells me about some of the plans for the bakery.
"Here we have the room to experiment with different cookies and breads and those sorts of things," he says. "We're thinking maybe Torchetti cookies--a bread-based cookie rolled in sugar. Or Italian rolled pastry with candied spaghetti squash."
Whatever comes of the bakery, the chocolate here will surely be the main focus. And for those who have lost themselves in a Mayan hot chocolate, they know that's certainly a good thing.
Photos by Dennis Marciniak