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In 2018, Gretel Garcia started a catering company on Alondra Boulevard in Bellflower. She hosted weddings, parties, and various events throughout the years, becoming acquainted with handfuls of beautiful strangers along the way.
However, well into her career, Gretel started to realize something: When the guests walked into the catered events, they were sweet, energetic, and alive. But after a few drinks, a certain malignancy commenced spreading like wildfire. As guests imbibed, they became…not themselves, Gretel observed. It was around this time that Gretel found herself also partaking in the parties, perhaps a little too much.
“Even though I saw how quickly alcohol changed people, I started consuming it, too. And I realized I was getting toxic and even aggressive,” Gretel tells WNLA. “I couldn’t even take a compliment without [questioning the intent]. That’s when I knew I needed to quit drinking and find a sober outlet.”
After quitting cold turkey — save a few glasses of wine throughout the year — there was a noticeable change within Gretel. Not only did she feel better physically, but mentally as well. Then, Gretel came in contact with Curious Elixirs — a booze-free craft cocktail company.
“I started drinking Curious Elixirs and found I was able to unwind, I was in control of myself, and I didn’t wake up hungover. And I thought, ‘You know what? We need to normalize not drinking. We need to normalize going out or dancing our asses off without getting drunk,’” Gretel explains.
“So, I figured, let me use my location to bring this concept to life,” she continues. “I knew it was going to be challenging, but I wanted to create a space for people who are sober; a place where they can visit, socialize, and get that nice little natural buzz; a place where they don’t have to feel like an outcast because they’re not drinking or overwhelmed because they drank too much.”
Now, Gretel is hard at work bringing her sober bistro to life, even selling her own home to accrue additional project funds. The bistro — which Gretel is adamant about not calling a “bar” — will open at the address of her former catering company, 9104 Alondra Blvd, Bellflower, CA 90706.
Bistro by Gretel & Co. will serve adaptogen-infused mocktails ranging in price from $8-$12, breakfast from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., and cheese platters at night when the venue reopens from 7 p.m. – 2 a.m.
What’s more, Gretel has partnered with the New York-based Curious Elixirs to ensure that her beverages are not only top-of-the-line but plant-based as well.
Bistro by Gretel & Co. will debut sometime in January pending funding and paperwork. Upon the concept’s success, Gretel hopes to open seven more of its kind.