Groves coffee house gets new owners, expands to Orange County
Published 12:32 am Friday, April 7, 2023
GROVES — Paul Borel was a longtime customer of Sundara Coffee House & Grill before he became the owner.
Borel would go to the Groves shop daily for what he described as the best coffee he’s ever had, which was created by original owners Herb and Cindy Kreutzer.
The business changed hands and later, when a different owner considered closing Sundara, Borel made an offer.
“It’s been a part of the Groves community for years,” Borel said. “I’m born and raised in Groves and wanted to keep it alive. I have nothing but admiration for Herb and Cindy, and I want to keep their legacy going.”
Borel also worried about the dedicated employees, saying he couldn’t let them lose their jobs.
The allure of the roast
Borel is enamored with the coffee that the Kreutzers served, and he continues to serve it.
“Herb and Cindy did some extensive research and they came up with a special blend of three different beans from Mexico, Columbia and Brazil and they experimented with a roasting company until they found the exact way to roast the beans,” he said.
“It is specific to Sundara, and Sundara is the only place you can have it. It is a unique flavor; once you taste it you won’t want coffee from anywhere else. I really believe that. I would go every day before I was the owner.”
Adrian Todd, Sundara’s general manager, has a long history of working in the restaurant business and is capable of juggling the necessary duties, as well as act as barista, cook and run supplies to the Orangefield location.
He said the most popular drink is the caramel frappe.
Todd said it is similar to what one might get at another coffee shop nearby.
“But it’s made with love, that’s what I like to say,” Todd said.
He is in the process of developing a drink specifically for the City of Groves. Todd did some research and learned of Groves’ ties to pecans.
“A pecan praline frappe,” he said of what the Groves-inspired drink will be. “I did do some surveys beforehand and asked folks if they would buy it, and they found it enticing. I have people still pressing me to know when (I will make it.)”
Todd said the atmosphere at Sundara is community driven, even if there is a well-known coffee chain business down the street.
“This is the place where folks can run into their neighbors, run into their friends and sit outside and talk,” Todd said. “I spent 20 years in San Antonio in the restaurant business. Coffee shops like this have always been special to me because that’s where I would hang out in San Antonio, where I would go.”
Todd isn’t looking to reinvent the wheel at Sundara. He wants to keep the original legacy alive and breathe some fresh air into the shop, he said.
The Orangefield location at 6381 FM 1442 — the corner of FM 105 and FM 1442 — opened in December and, currently, serves the coffees with a few exceptions.
Borel said they do send soups and baked goods to Orangefield that are cooked in the Groves location.
He said the public reaction has been overwhelming.
“It’s amazing the support we’ve gotten, the likes and responses we got,” Borel said.
Like the Groves community, the Orangefield community welcomed Sundara with open arms, he said.
Borel is looking to become more involved in the community and collaborate with other local businesses. He’s already on that path with a Sundara loyalty card that, after a certain amount of purchases, the card bearer can get a free car wash at a local business.
Employees of that business are then able to get discounts on their purchases at the coffee house.
Borel looks to add more businesses to the card, he said.
The future of the Orangefield location includes the possibility of adding a kitchen, he added.