There are still some Bethel residents who remember driving up and paying their heating bills at the side window of the Victorian house at Decades later that same drive-up window may serve coffee.
The Victorian house has been through many trends, but asprepares to open next weekend, it is clear the house will see many more in the future.
As might be expected in any older home, there were a few surprises encountered in the construction of the space. “We pulled up carpeting and a sub-floor, and we found these golden ash floors,” owner Wendy Cahill said, showing off the intricately patterned floors. “We had to pull out thousands of tacks, and apply many layers of polyurethane to get them to look like this.”
Cahill studied sculpture Western Connecticut State University and her art background is evident throughout the new space. Contrasting colors are quirky and reminiscent of (but not the same as) the old Molten Java. In areas where the floor was mismatched, Cahill added inspirational and humorous sayings.
Pointing to the tall windows that line every wall, she said, “The entire design is whimsical and part of that comes from the Victorian house itself and all of this sunlight.”
There will be more art on display throughout the rooms of the new space. “We will have permanent photography and other exhibits once a month. The screening process will be a little more stringent. Everything will be framed and matted.”
Things will not change as much musically, Cahill said. “We will still have music. We have always been a place where people can have their first gig. I am a musician and getting that first gig is so hard.”
The new rooms both upstairs and down will be able to accommodate patrons who prefer to read or work in quiet.
Upstairs, Alice Hutchinson has rented two rooms to accommodate The bookstore has already opened quietly but is waiting for Molten Java to be completed before they hold their own Grand Opening.
According to Hutchinson, this is the only store in Bethel that features only new books. With the first Christmas season under it's belt, Hutchinson said she saw a trend in people buying up lots of books about Bethel and other books by Connecticut authors and local subjects. There are also children's books, which Hutchinson said is the only book market that has remained untouched by technology.
Food News for Molten Java
Besides the music and rooms to buy and enjoy a good book, there is nothing like a steaming bowl of vegetarian chili, and Molten Java will continue to serve that and more. Cahill said that the new menu will be similar, but the food will be made fresh to order. And there will be more of it. “If people think of us as a cafe instead of a coffee shop, that is the direction we are headed. Like an American Taqueria.”
The cafe does not intend to include a lot of red meat items. “Maybe bacon, but we will be primarily vegetarian. We might serve a more extensive breakfast,” Cahill explained.
Both the bookstore and Molten Java plan on introducing new events which will include book signings, puppet shows, book readings for children, and a changing art exhibit from the Housatonic Valley Cultural Alliance. There will also be movie nights. Cahill explained, “Wednesday nights has been motorcycle nights at Molten Java, but in the winter, they want to watch motorcycle movies. We will be showing those and more documentaries as well.”
“This was a longtime dream of mine,” Cahill said. “The whole design has been like a gigantic art installation. It's an organic process, and over time it will change as people add to it.”