A new wine shop and cafe called Vif (pronounced veef) is taking over the old Herfy's space in Fremont. Friends Shawn Mead and Lauren Feldman officially take possession May 1 and plan to be open in time for summer sipping. Says Lauren:
We're going to be a wine shop and cafe, kind of like a wine shop where you can get a small bite to eat. The focus of the shop is going to be on natural wines and specialty coffee, so we're intertwining the common philosophy behind sustainable agriculture.
The two women met about a decade ago while both working at Campagne: Lauren was the pastry chef and Shawn was the wine director. "Over time," says Shawn, "we became friends and started talking about opening a business. In between then and now, we both really went out and did a bunch of other things."
Shawn worked for a wine importer and can currently be found at Walrus and the Carpenter, and Lauren spent time as a private chef and teaching at the Art Institute.
The name Vif is based on the French verb 'vivre' and that means 'to live' and it's the adjective which means 'alive bright.' So we are essentially called 'live wine and coffee' and it's to indicate the intention we want to bring, the most alive wines to the market. To us, it's a meaningful statement.
The ladies make a point to say that they're not promoting themselves as a wine bar, but more as a cafe and wine shop. Says Lauren:
We're trying to keep it pretty simple. It's going to be coffee shop-like food, but everything will be made in-house. We're not necessarily going to have a dozen different pastries you can chose from. There will be a couple simply-prepared pastries, toasts with different toppings, hard-cooked farm eggs, homemade granola, things like that. And for lunch, there will be a couple of simple soups, a sandwich or two, and a hot plate every day.
Once open, Vif's hours will be Tues-Sun, 7 am to 7pm with slightly abbreviated closing hours on weekend.
There's no patio just yet, but that's in the works. Until then, Vif's enormous parking lot will act as a place for some fun outdoor activities and private events.