Epilogue: Books Chocolate Brews, an independently owned bookstore and coffee shop with a Spanish-inspired twist, is coming to 109 E. Franklin St. this summer.
Planning to open in July, the cafe will also serve as a Spanish-style chocolatería and panadería, or bakery. Their menu includes cups of chocolate and Latin street foods, like churros and pan dulce, from family recipes. Craft brews and wine will also be served.
“We’re kind of like if The Bookshop and Cocoa Cinnamon had a love child,” said co-owner Miranda Sanchez.
But in addition to the chocolate, co-owner Jaime Sanchez said Epilogue is all about community.
“That’s really what it is, it’s just about fostering community,” Miranda Sanchez said. “We as a community need to foster that type of environment, that energy that comes from being able to pause.”
By blending their passions — Jaime’s Mexican heritage and Miranda’s love for reading and writing — the inspiration for Epilogue came about.
Jaime said they put the cafe in a Spanish-style chocolatería because they were inspired by the Plaza Mayor in Madrid, Spain.
“Everybody hangs out there and on Saturday, doing the weekend thing with the family, they go eat churros and chocolate,” Jaime said. “We wanted to bring that type of community space to Chapel Hill.”
But the extra push to open the cafe came from the closing of The Bookshop on Franklin Street in 2017. Miranda is an author, and she said when The Bookshop closed, she felt that Franklin Street lost a place where people could pause during a busy day.
Matthew Gladdek, executive director of the Chapel Hill Downtown Partnership, completed graduate school in Chapel Hill. He said once he became executive director, he was upset that downtown Chapel Hill no longer had any bookshops.
“When I was here, we had three bookshops, if not more,” Gladdek said. “I am really excited to have a bookstore come back, and especially one that I think is very unique for the region in general.”
When developing the concept, both owners wanted to ensure they protected the cafe’s cultural aspect and displayed their personal roots. Jaime said customers can expect to see Frida Kahlo and inspirations from their roots as a blended family.
“We wanted to bring that sweetness of joint culture to Chapel Hill,” Jaime said. “There’s not a panadería (bakery) here, now there’s going to be.”
As Chapel Hill locals, the couple also wants their cafe to be a space for local poets, artists and musicians to display their work — a place for locals, by locals.
“I think what we can tell from good local bookstores is that they can really connect with the community,” Gladdek said. “They offer a level of service and recommendation in books that creates a really vital space that people want to be in.”
UNC students are excited about a new coffee shop coming to Franklin Street.
UNC senior Adrien Calloway said she loves all things related to Latin American culture, and that she thinks Epilogue will be a unique addition to Franklin Street.
“I’m so excited,” Calloway said. “I think it’ll kind of change up the vibe of the cafes we have and a lot of the restaurants too.”
Others, like UNC junior Melissa Kuan, are interested in the cafe’s bookstore aspect.
“I think it's a cool idea to incorporate books into the cafe experience because I feel like reading is super underrated by people in our generation, and it'll be a good way to help people take a second in their busy lives to sit down and enjoy themselves,” said Kuan.
UNC junior Adrianne Cleven said she likes the idea of more local coffee shops coming to Franklin Street.
“I genuinely just love local coffee shops,” said Cleven. “I think they can include so much local flavor and then they also have so much more freedom to cater themselves to the community and what the community wants and needs.”