Just over two years ago, the Sandoval family leapt into a new adventure in their lives, opening a specialty coffee house, in Brownwood. Since then, they have expanded their menu from coffees and breakfast to a daily variety of soups and sandwiches.
If their plans and schedules match the plans and schedules of those with whom they are working come together, the Sandovals expect to open a second location, soon after Spring break. Common Grounds is coming to Early!
A significant remodel of the Heartland Mall location, previously occupied by the Moon Zen, is underway now. Fresh paint, walls moved to maximize seating, a wall removed to create a space for live music performances, and a redesign of the kitchen space are just a few of the projects in progress. Within a couple of weeks, the all new kitchen equipment will be installed, the last major step before opening the doors.
The new location will serve all of the beverages customers enjoy at the Brownwood location, 2208 Austin Ave., including the frappuccinos, lattes, fruit smoothies, and the recently added Isagenix protein shakes.
Although Marco and Yesenia haven't yet finished compiling the entire menu, the signature item for the new location will be gourmet burgers.
"It's really, truly going to be gourmet," Yesenia said, "It will be like nothing Brownwood and Early has had before."
Marco added, "We expect it will be something the community will really like."
The couple and one of their current chefs recently attended culinary training in Lubbock, while deciding what to offer customers at the new location.
"We tried 10 different burgers," Marco said, to come up with the perfect combination.
The burgers will be hand formed, with a quality ground sirloin mixture, and cooked on a char-broiler, rather than the common flat grill.
The hours are expected to be from 7:30 a.m. until 9 p.m., Monday through Saturday. The early hours are possible because the space includes its own exterior entryway, in addition to the mall entrance. Friday nights will include live music by local talent or karaoke. Like the existing location, televisions and wifi access will be available for those who want to catch up on the news or sports and those who need to do a little work during lunch.
Both Marco and Yesenia were previously in educational administration, but have enjoyed great success with their new venture, attracting visitors from around the country and regular customers from Brown and surrounding counties.
"The community has really supported us," Marco said, "and we are very thankful."
The couple's two children, Adrian, a student at Howard Payne Univ., and Athalie, 13, also regularly work at the restaurant. Common Grounds currently employs about eight and expects to add four to six more, when the mall location opens.
"We really want to thank the City of Early for working with us and simplifying the process," Marco said, "and also the mall staff, Brittany (Cooley, Heartland Mall manager), and the owners of the mall."
To keep up with the progress and to find specials at both locations, visit the restaurant's Facebook page at Common Grounds Coffee House and Deli.