Apothecary is a comfortable cafe and dynamic wine bar that, after only five months, already fits into the surrounding community
Reviewed by Rachel Feit, Fri., April 2, 2010
Apothecary4800 Burnet Rd. #450, 371-1600
Monday-Saturday, 9am-12mid; Sunday, 9am-9pm
There's something about Apothecary that's really appealing. Frankly, it can't be the dull facade facing Burnet Road or the amateurish picnic tables set up outside. It's probably not the blocky wooden tables inside, which seem somehow out of place with the rest of the interior decor.
Perhaps it's the soothing aroma of freshly brewed coffee that greets you when you enter the cafe during the day, or the deep-hued red and brown interior palette, accented with Moroccan lamps and exotic-looking carved wooden frames. The appeal could also have something to do with the cafe's unusual, diverse wine selection or the friendly informality of the staff.
In opening Apothecary, partners Niraj Mehdiratta and Chris Albert envisioned a neighborhood cafe serving coffee, tea, snacks, and sandwiches by day and an eclectic assortment of wine and beer by night. They hoped to attract a worldly, multicultural, and multigenerational crowd to make Apothecary simultaneously a Rosedale neighborhood haunt and a destination. While this one-size-fits-all approach could seem naive, and to anyone with experience in the restaurant business, it might sound like a potential recipe for failure, somehow Albert and Mehdiratta have made it work. Apothecary is just what they imagined: a comfortable cafe and dynamic wine bar that, after only five months, already fits into the surrounding community.
On a recent Sunday, we strolled up to Apothecary for a late afternoon lunch. The place was comfortably full, with people drinking coffee and working on their laptops. From a menu highlighted by artisanal cheeses and charcuterie, salads, homemade soups, and sandwiches, we ordered grilled panini with smoked turkey, apples, and melted Brie ($7.95) and mozzarella, prosciutto, and pesto ($8.50). Both were tasty, though the cafe substituted another type of bread for the focaccia advertised on the menu. We paired our sandwiches with a glass of Tomero Malbec ($9), a thick, berry-flavored wine from Argentina.
The wine list, featuring bottles representing a range of regions and grapes, changes weekly. Apothecary has recently added a dessert menu of locally crafted chocolate truffles, and they offer live music several nights a week.
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