Chocolatier Alexandra Whisnant of Gaté Comme des Filles and Compliments Food Co. founder Bobby MacLean already have a home at Aeronaut (14 Tyler St.), where Whisnant’s high-end chocolate company shares space in the Foods Hub and Compliments serves grilled cheese, chili and more tasty taproom comfort food several times a week.
Now, the pair are behind a new joint venture at the brewery they’re calling Hikoki Pop-Up Café.
“We decided to work together, because I’ve always wanted to do coffee, too… and we’re already there anyway,” Whisnant says. “I longed to make hot chocolate at my Lizzy’s pop-up all winter, but we were forbidden to do so because Lizzy’s shares the building with Starbucks. I’m so excited to finally be able to sell hot chocolate—it has been my dream for years.”
Aeronaut founder and CEO Ben Holmes had approached MacLean about potentially serving brunch in the space, and the collaboration just made sense for the duo. Whisnant says brewery-goers have come to her at the chocolate shop looking for non-alcoholic alternatives already—especially pregnant gals.
Hikoki—a Japanese word for airplane that Whisnant and MacLean liked both because it’s adorable and it went with the Aeronautical theme—will be open on Sundays to start, likely from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., with a grand opening at the end of May. If that seems to be going well, they’ll add additional days and hours. (The pair did a practice run this weekend, which went well, but Whisnant and MacLean are pretty busy as is with that whole already-running-their-own-businesses thing.)
When it’s fully up and running, you’ll be able to get baked goods including lemon poppyseed cake, scones with homemade jam and local honey, and frittatas made with local farmers market ingredients to accompany your hot chocolate, drip and pour-over George Howell coffee and tea. Whisnant says they’ll likely offer a weekly smoothie, and hopefully fire cider and kombucha.
“We just have to get space in the fridge for that… there’s a lot of beer in there right now,” she says, chuckling.