Hey, so, this year, like crazy people, my husband, my team, my partners and I decided to do an ambitious thing. We’d just launched an e-commerce site (clearly as you’re on it) with a lot of ambition and a lot of legs. And we had been building an event planning and floral design business to support that e-commerce brand. We had opened our own warehouse, we had launched a content platform around hosting, and we were building a vendor marketplace to connect our guests to brands that would make it easier to host.
So it seemed really reasonable on paper at the time to say, “yea, let’s also open a retail store, a restaurant, a bar, and an event space, all in the same twelve months.” (I kid you not, I also have been trying to pitch my team an NFT membership program. #DreamBig, folks.)
Yes, so here we are. A little over two months and what feels like a billion years ago, we opened the doors for Champers and Feste. It has been a whirlwind, a learning curve, a journey, a tightrope, and all of the clichés that founders and startups use because they’re clichés for a reason. I would like a nap, a tequila, and a hug.
There are, despite the sheer velocity of it, true moments of bliss. Standing in the space, surrounded by happy guests. Watching people walk by and peer in the windows. Laughing with my team. Seeing someone leave with a shopping bag. Pouring someone a glass of champagne. Helping someone find something perfect. Hearing a guest compliment a team member on a job they did well. Wiping down the beautiful bar. Seeing people on a first date in the space. Seeing people celebrate in the space. Watching it rain outside while it’s beautiful inside. Anyone at all enjoying my music selections. The pleasure in opening the door first thing in the morning and locking it last at night. The creativity of it. The adrenaline of it.
People are very curious and supportive. Every day someone asks me, “why Champagne?” For me, it’s so fundamental to this brand, dedicated to no occasion necessary. There’s a pleasure in making the every day something celebratory—The traditional perceptions of fussy, special-occasion-only-champagne doesn’t hold up today. When the pandemic started, the first thing we did was drink our “good” wine. I was tired of saving it for a rainy day. The rainy day was here.
As drink menus get longer and longer, we’re looking to make ours edited, focused and with a specific expertise in sparkling. We are focused on democratizing bubbles and putting grower champagnes and underrepresented wine makers on the list. We have bubbles on tap and only the champagne of beers. Please don’t ask me for an IPA. Fanelli’s is around the corner.
Curious about our approach to menu? It’s very similar to the way that Andrew and I have always dined and entertained. In our house, I like to open sparkling with brunch. It’s my preferred pairing to have Ruinart with soft scrambled eggs and caviar on a warm croissant. I like to drink champagne on the beach with a bonfire and cold fried chicken on chilly autumn weekends.
Want to up your bubble game? Here are our four favorite products so you can bring Champers home to you.
Forget flutes. A coupe is beautiful, but encourages the loss of bubbles too quickly if you really want to enjoy the champagne. My number one recommendation if you want to drink bubbles is to simply enjoy them in a beautiful white wine glass. You should look for one where the lip has a smaller radius than the base of the glass. This will allow the wine to open up, but not too much carbonation to escape. Perfection.
I like to have a bottle that’s good to drink on its own and a bottle that pairs nicely with food, something drier that needs the fattiness of fried chicken or the brininess of caviar to contrast. I love this oversized glass champagne bucket that’s big enough for two bottles. We use this in the restaurant for oversized blooms when we’re not popping bottles. Need I say more?
I once stayed with some friends in Kauai, and we went to a now defunct luxury hotel on the North shore for drinks. Every night as the sunset, they would saber a bottle of champagne over Hanalei Bay. Decadent? Yes. Something you can achieve in your backyard? You betcha. Everyone needs a little more pomp and circumstance in their lives.
We source all our oysters from the North Shore of Long Island from a small family oyster farm called Peekoe Oysters on the Peconic Bay. They’re bright, small, and briny, reflective of the merroir of the region and pair perfectly with my favorite glass of blanc de noir. Open them in style with this functional and efficient oyster knife from Laguoile.
Want to visit IRL? Check out Champers Social Club for more details.