Coffee, corks and candlelight

Couple’s vision comes to life in new space for pastries, light bites, and plenty of wine!
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A pour of wine at Chateau Grand Rapids, a wine bar/coffee lounge located at 955 Cherry St. SE. Photo by Tylee Shay.

Chateau Grand Rapids, located at 995 Cherry St. SE, is coffee bar by day, wine bar by night.

Golden daylight pours through the shop windows filling the space with warmth and energy, while espresso machines buzz to the beat of busy laptops. At night the space transforms as ambient light and flickering candles create an intimate vibe, with a chorus of clinking glasses and conversations bouncing off the walls.

Chateau Grand Rapids owners Chris and Allaire Swart. Photo by Tylee Shay.

Inspired by the exciting wine bars they experienced in their travels to New York, Paris, and London, owners Chris and Allaire Swart felt motivated to create something equally vibrant and introduce the Grand Rapids community to new wines.

“We wanted it to feel like a place we would love to hang out with our own family and friends,” said Chris.

Their upscale old-world vision came together with brass fixtures and emerald-green accents, warm wood and velvet textures, exposed brick and crown molding, the perfect blend of modern and romantic. The Swarts want the beautiful space to draw window shoppers and neighborhood walkers in the door, and the exceptional product and service to keep them there.

Choosing to add coffee and pastries to their morning service just made sense for utilizing the space at all times of day, but a passion for wine was always the couple’s main driving force.

Chateau has over 200 unique varieties of wine in the cellar, and they’re constantly evolving. “We really think we have the best wine list in town,” said Chris. “And we are willing to accept a lower margin at times to introduce the people of Grand Rapids to amazing wines.”

Chateau also offers a rotating list of charcuterie boards with domestic and imported meats and cheeses, and they recruited a talented chef to curate seasonally inspired and ever-changing food pairings.

“We want people to feel like they don’t need to leave for a dinner reservation, they can spend the whole evening here and enjoy substantial small plates and unique dishes with incredible wine,” said Allaire.

After opening their doors on Valentine’s Day, they immediately felt the love from the Grand Rapids community. “The response was exactly what we hoped for,” said Chris.

Allaire agreed.

“It’s great to see that people really get what we’re trying to do. Hearing customer feedback like ‘Grand Rapids really needed something like this’ has been so rewarding,” she said.

This response made them feel even more excited for what’s to come. Summer outdoor patio seating, a wine club and member-only dinners, educational evenings with wine importers, oyster nights, jazz trios, and more are all things to come in 2024, making Chateau worth frequent visits to see what’s new and happening.

What the owners recommend:

Allaire:

  • Coffee- Pour over
  • Wine- French Red Bourgogne
  • Bite- Hamachi Crudo

Chris:

  • Coffee- Cortado
  • Wine- German Riesling
  • Bite- Scallop Crudo

 

 

 

 

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Tylee is a writer and photographer with a degree in Communications and Writing. She is published in several local and national publications, and as founder and owner of Tylee Shay, she offers content, photography, and social media services to local business and brands. She is equal parts world-traveler and homebody, has been to more countries than her age, and never turns down a glass of wine.