3700 Glenwood Ave Suite 150
Raleigh, NC 27612
When you first pull into the parking lot, the building housing the café appears to be a typical, nondescript office building. But Sommelier’s Roast, sitting on the first floor, offers an escape to both office employees and passersby off Glenwood Avenue, whether it be for a quick espresso between meetings or a filling lunch before heading to Crabtree. Situated beyond the bustling mall intersection, but not Glenwood South, Sommelier’s Roast serves as a much-needed watering hole to the area, amidst the stretch of office buildings.
Sommelier’s Roast is the brainchild of husband and wife Lance and Ashley Odvody, who come from a wine and coffee background–Lance being a certified Sommelier and former member of the Wine Cellar staff at Angus Barn. After having had their own coffee roasting business for some number of years, the Odvodys realized the similarities between the flavor profiles of wine and coffee and took to their own coffee shop venture. What thus started as a broken coffee roaster gifted to the couple became Sommelier’s Roast August of 2017.
The interior of the café itself is bright and airy–the all-white walls and tables broken up by pops of color from local art and eclectic light fixtures. A wall of tree limbs in the center of the space adds yet more character, contrasting the café’s light and bright atmosphere from the rest of the building.
The menu, unlike the décor, offers a few of your coffee shop classics–a range of typical espresso offerings, like flavored lattes, cappuccinos, and mochas, in addition to conventional breakfast and lunch dishes featuring items from local vendors. The coffee is the same coffee used by the Odvody’s in their own roasting business and offers about ten different varieties. The fair-trade coffee hails from all over the world: Costa Rica, Colombia, Ethiopia, and more recently, Mexico—most of them single-origin.
Tea lovers can also rejoice thanks to Ashley’s enthusiasm for the same. The menu boasts a robust variety of hand-selected teas from Metropolitan Tea Company and Asheville Tea Company. Order it by the pot-full and have it kept warm by a tea light candle during your visit. For tea enthusiasts, expect most of the teas to be North Carolina-grown, with a few internationally-sourced blends.
As for their breakfast and lunch items, you can expect a stocked bakery of freshly baked goods sourced from local vendors like Durham’s Ninth Street Bakery (the seasonal cakes on offer the day we were there were amazing and so perfectly moist!). The bakery selection also regularly features specialty items, like cupcakes baked from the Odvodys’ family friends. Other breakfast items include oatmeal with fixings, Nutella toast with candied walnuts and crushed pretzels, and of course, avocado toast. Their sandwich and salad menu offers something for everybody, from chicken salad to hot ham paninis.
We were able to sample their Chicken Salad, Seafarer’s Salad, Beet Salad, and Egg Salad. The most notable were the chicken and seafarer’s salads. The Chicken Salad was hearty and flavorful, while the seafarer’s salad had a generous amount of sweet lump crab meat, a refreshing change from most seafarer’s salads. While there was just a tinge too much of mayonnaise, it was appetizing nonetheless. The citrus aioli was a light and delicious complement to the lump crab.
Also sampled that day was their Nuts & Berries Salad, consisting of julienned carrot, cucumber, goat cheese, blueberries, strawberries, apple, an assortment of nuts and seeds, and their house-made raspberry vinaigrette. All of Sommelier’s Roast’s dressings are made in-house. The raspberry vinaigrette was tangy and thin, a great complement to the mild and creamy goat cheese atop the Nuts & Berries salad. If you’re looking for bold flavor, however, I would look to their sandwich menu or their heartier selection of salads, like the chicken, seafarer’s, or egg salads.
The last item we sampled was their turkey panini: oven-roasted turkey breast, cheddar cheese, and mayonnaise on Ninth Street Bakery sourdough. This would be a go-to for an easy, no-frills lunch. The cheddar and turkey, albeit simple, is a tried-and-true combination and satisfying. The sourdough also didn’t disappoint.
Overall, the menu at Sommelier’s Roast is simple and does the trick for a mid-day pick-me-up. While the prices appear a bit steep for their offerings—with drip coffee in the $2.50 to $2.75 range and their salads and sandwiches close around $10 each—a portion of their proceeds goes towards causes near and dear to the owners’ hearts, such as Helping Hands and the Jimmy Alfano Scholarship Fund (a culinary arts scholarship fund).
Joanne Wu is an avid foodie and can often be found coffee shop hopping around the Triangle. Coming from a rural Taiwanese background, she loves all things scratch-made in the kitchen and locally sourced. When she’s not dining her way through the Triangle, politics is her other passion. Joanne currently works in downtown Raleigh in State government. Follow her on Twitter or Instagram at @joannewuu.