May 3, 2016 – Jay and Chloe Dolata, who own the community-centric Carmel Belle restaurant, are looking to expand our local food options and need your help. They are going to the Carmel City Council tonight about 7pm seeking permission to install a food marketplace in the underused 7th and Dolores building, which will offer everything from espressos and homemade granola to charcuterie, wine and caviar.
“Food is the centerpiece for gathering people together,” says Chloe Dolata, who affectionately calls the new project 7D. “Jay and I want the marketplace to be the center of our community because we love neighbors and eating and celebrating.”
Their established restaurant, nearby Carmel Belle, attests to that mission. Over the years they have amassed a crowd of passionate fans who enjoy the Dolatas’ focus on local, sustainable foods.
Jay and Chloe invited friends and community members interested in their new venture to visit the proposed marketplace one evening last week. The space is airy and modern with lots of natural light and warm wooden floors. There is also a full commercial kitchen already in place.
On the floor, in blue tape, were the outlines of fixtures, labelled with what they intend to place there. “Chocolate Bar” read one sign; “Espresso Machine” read another. There were also outlines of tables and chairs, designating where they plan to have seating for customers to eat inside as well as outside on the Dolores side of the building. Nestled between the two buildings is a cozy fire pit surrounded with wooden chairs.
Around the main room were informational boards that shared what the Dolatas have planned in various areas. For their Pantry & Grocery section, they plan to emphasize organic, locally produced goods, including fresh pasta, jams, honey, and nut butters. They will offer housemade almond milk, granola, and bone broths. “Pho in a jar?” one of the signs asked. “Why not!”
For Home Goods, they will carry ceramics, Pendleton beach blankets, custom-made flip flops from Big Sur, and pour-over coffee filters. Beer aficionados can pick up branded 7D growlers while wine connoisseurs will be able to select both red and white wines from a variety of Santa Lucia and Monterey County vineyards. At one table, representative of two local vintners’ they plan to sell, they were pouring Heller Estates’ 2013 Cachagua Cabernet Sauvignon and Big Sur Vineyards’ 2014 Chardonnay.
Their Cheese & Charcuterie Bar will include an array of caviar and an olive bar. The Coffee, Pastry, & Prepared Foods options will provide pour-over coffee, overnight oats, and everything customers would need to pack a picnic. “Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner everyday,” read a sign.
After guests had mingled, chatted, and sampled the eats—large platters of charcuterie, cheeses, fresh fruits, and fresh-baked pizzas—Jay, Chloe, and their daughter, Brogan, ascended the stairs and addressed the crowd below. Jay presented a concept of “Community in Food,” echoing what Chloe had said about food being the center of gravity for social gatherings. Jay offered ways in which they hope 7D will be the location of such gatherings. They plan to host a variety of special events including pop-up meals and cooking demonstrations. And they will offer local authors a venue for book talks or cookbook signings. Jay asserted, “We want this to be a gathering place for all.”
Tonight at 7pm Jay and Chloe bring their proposal before the Carmel City Council. They invited friends and community members to attend the meeting in support of the project. But before that, Jay called for people to come talk to him. “Ask me the hard questions!” he challenged. I didn’t ask him any questions that were too tough, but I did probe about the two people ahead of me who are well-known business owners in the vicinity. “I assured them that this venture is about community and collaboration,” Jay explained. “Our marketplace isn’t meant to compete with what they are already doing.”