An Atascadero couple is turning a vacant downtown gas station into a neighborhood market and deli.
Joanna and Shayne Wemple are preparing to open Colony Market and Deli in mid-March in a space at the corner of El Camino Real and Traffic Way.
The couple has been looking for a location to open their own restaurant for years and felt like they’d finally found the right spot when they came upon the 6040 El Camino Real property.
“When we saw this place on the corner, we were like, ‘Oh my gosh, this is the place,’” Joanna Wemple said in a phone interview.
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Z Villages, LLC — owned by developer Mike Zappas and his family — purchased the property in 2016, when A-Town AV was still using the space as an office.
The business moved to a new location on Traffic Way, and the space remained empty for a time while Z Villages found the right tenant. The developers wanted to rent to a business that didn’t involve cars or automotive repair.
“We just had a vision of something that promoted more community — of being out and about,” said Zoe Zappas, a Z Villages marketing and project manager.
Zappas declined to disclose how much the company paid for the property.
Z Villages is also in the midst of developing the La Plaza mixed-use project just down El Camino Real, which will bring restaurants, retail and office space to the downtown area. As part of that project, Malibu Brew Coffee recently vacated its building and will be moving to a new spot across from Sunken Gardens on East Mall.
Demolition on the development’s site across from the Sunken Gardens began last month.
The Wemples envision Colony Market and Deli as a vintage market establishment featuring a variety of sandwiches, soups and salads, in addition to beer and wine on tap.
“Our menu is really comfort food meets creativity,” Wemple said.
The market will also offer desserts and take-away food, along with appetizers to enjoy with a drink in the evening.
“Everything will be as locally sourced as possible, and certainly responsibly sourced,” Wemple said.
The old gas station awning will remain part of the establishment’s patio, where customers will be able to listen to live music and play games of corn hole.
The Wemples have started hiring for their staff of 10 to 11 employees and hope to offer customers a warm and welcoming environment.
“We’re trying to really mimic that old-timey neighborhood shop,” Wemple said. “How it used to be.”
For updates on Colony Market and Deli, visit the restaurant’s website at colonymarketanddeli.com, and follow the Wemples’ progress on Instagram at instagram.com/colonymarketanddeli and Facebook at facebook.com/colonymarketanddeli.