“The space is perfect for us.”
That’s how Andrew Snavely and Joe Passalaqua reacted to seeing the yellow building at 1278 Pendleton St. in the Village of West Greenville.
Dobra Tea, founded in 1993 in the Czech Republic as a collective of like-minded, tea-loving individuals, will open in that ideal space this summer as the first South Carolina location, with Passalaqua as operator and Snavely’s assistance as Dobra Tea national consultant for the United States.
“I’ve known for years Greenville was perfect for us,” Snavely says.
Rakan Draz of Avison Young, who executed the lease, reached out to Snavely months ago about bringing the concept to Greenville.
“This gives a reason to activate that corner of the Village and draw more foot traffic,” Draz says.
Stemming from the existing two Asheville, North Carolina, Dobra Tea rooms that Snavely operates and five others in the U.S., this new tea house will bring the culture of tea to Greenville in a way the local market hasn’t yet seen.
“This is not a coffee shop,” Passalaqua says.
As an Asheville resident, Passalaqua became introduced to Dobra Tea and Snavely and fell in love with the experience.
“It’s a cross between a church and a pub,” Snavely says.
For Passalaqua, who just sold his Asheville home to move to Greenville, opening a Dobra Tea house is a way out of the corporate world and into a more relaxing and wholesome environment, he says. He plans to be in the tea room 365 days a year, especially on holidays, he says, remaining open when most businesses close to give people a place to gather and celebrate.
Instead of a menu on the wall, Dobra offers an 85-page tea journal. Rather than ordering at a counter and then taking a seat, guests will first sit, then ring a bell to alert the staff they’re ready to order. A platform area with traditional low seating will allow people to take off their shoes and recline.
The 2,700-square-foot former Graphic Cow location that most recently has served as a temporary home for the Leaf Institute already has expansive windows, and Snavely says the plan is to install moveable windows facing Pendleton that will allow them to open and create an open-air environment.
“This is not an in-and-out place,” Snavely says.
Dobra does offer to-go drinks, but he says the goal is for people to take a break out of their day to de-stress.
“One drinks tea to forget the noise of the world,” he says.
In addition to teas from around the globe, the Asian-fusion menu also includes lunch and dinner items.
Overall, the environment is one of inclusion.
The goal is for men, women, and children of all ages to gather, enjoy tea, enjoy conversation, eat healthfully, and leave feeling better than when they arrived, Snavely says.
“We’re selling an experience, not just a cup of tea,” he says.
Visit www.dobratea.com for a list of teas and to read more about the history of the collective.