Tre Fantastico Opens at the Parkside

image: a barista at work at the new Tre Fantastico

Coffee doesn’t stunt your growth, especially when you’re Caffe Fantastico. They started slinging ‘spro from a tiny cart on Government street, bust open a roastery location in Quadra Village, and promptly tucked into a tiny alcove of the Cook Street food court. Then they stretched across the bridge to the Dockside Green, and for a few years it seemed that Fantastico had settled down.

But Ryan and Kristy Taylor, the husband-wife team behind the brand, decided that coffee wasn’t the only thing they enjoyed. They opened TRE Fantastico in mid-October, and the beautiful new location operated in a soft-opening mode during a fourteen-week battle with the liquor board. License obtained, compact kitchen stocked, menu planned, the only thing to do was christen the space with a bottle of wine. Or several, in the case of Thursday’s Grand Opening.

Located at 810 Humbolt street in the swank new Parkside building, TRE Fantastico’s décor compliments the posh neighborhood and nods to their community and environmentally conscious roots: the tables are reclaimed wood, the bar is pressed recycled glass. The art is by a local painter who has displayed his work with the company for years. Though the space is aesthetically different, the service and knowledge remains consistently informative and relaxed. TRE is simply another home for Fantastico customers; another place for the neighborhood to meet. But the menu? The local beers and wine list?  Those are certainly new.

Determined to exalt local bounty, the Taylors collaborated with chef Kerry Park to come up with a menu that exhibited an Island approach to eating. Home-style eggs-and-beans for breakfast; Penneziti with truffle oil, peas, and Manchego for lunch. The menu had even incorporated child-friendly options that are both nutritionally conscious and price-scaled. The attention to comfort combined with the celebration of good company is the heart of TRE Fantastico. Just as their other locations encourage community over coffee, TRE promises to perpetuate conversation with the help of a glass of wine and a Choux Choux Charcuterie cheese board.

The grand opening saw miniature versions of menu specials. Coin-sized Callebaut cupcakes as an homage to their chocolate cake and signature dark-chocolate mochas. Pork and blue-cheese sliders with house-made sauerkraut with some Driftwood Ale for sustenance and indulgence, followed by delicate citrus-cured gravlax that guests hoarded behind their glasses and cocktail napkins.

“Are you nervous? I asked Kerry as he feverishly piped ganache onto the cupcakes.

“As nervous as I get about anything,” he replied with a wink. Pulled pork simmered on burners behind him and Manchego grilled cheese cooled to his right. Kerry is a fairly unflappable man.

A cask of Swan’s Extra Special Bitters was opened in honor of the new space, and keeping with Fantastico’s legacy of reasonable prices, was offered at $3 for a 12oz glass. From outside the building, the upstairs cask-conditioning room is visible, and suggests a future haven for beer-philes.

“It felt like a happening Tapas bar. Like you’d see in Europe.” Derek Allen, Fantastico’s roaster, said of the opening. “The party was great, but it was more so the space. The company. The nice comfortable bustle.”

TRE is open Sunday-Tuesday 6:30AM to 5:30PM, and Wednesday-Saturday until 10PM. —Katie Fritz

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