As Pride Month starts, ‘queer hipster oasis’ opens in Concord

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  • Teatotaller owner Emmett Soldati has brought the concept of “queer hipster oasis” to Main Street in Concord. But Soldati wants it to be for everyone. The cafe will serve coffee, tea, pastries and sandwiches. GEOFF FORESTER photos / Monitor staff

  • The new Teatotaller on Main Street in Concord. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

  • The new Teatotaller on Main Street in Concord. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

  • Barista Kyle Kirby welcomes a new customer at the soft opening of Teatotaller on Main Street in Concord on Wednesday.

  • Emmett Soldati, owner of Teatotaller, in front of what will be the company's second cafe, on Main Street. April 15, 2022

  • The upstairs will be for gatherings and even drag shows. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

  • Teatotaller owner Emmett Soldati pops his head into the kitchen as manager Liam Magan makes a breakfast sandwich at the soft opening of the new store on Main Street in Concord on Wednesday, June 1, 2022. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

  • Teatotaller owner Emmett Soldati has brought the concept ‘queer hipster oasis’€ to Main Street in Concord. But he wants it to be for everyone. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

  • Some of the items for sale include Chai and tee shirts. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

Monitor staff
Published: 6/1/2022 4:42:39 PM

Concord’s most colorful (quite literally) new eatery Teatotaller will have a soft opening Wednesday, as the self-described “queer hipster oasis” celebrates the start of Pride Month.

“We’ll have a full menu and staff but nothing is permanent. We’re testing things out – figuring out details, hours, staffing,” said owner Emmett Soldati. “We’ll have a bigger grand opening later on, with events and programming.”

The LGBTQ-friendly cafe has been in Somersworth since 2016. Its Concord presence, delayed by the pandemic, is at 2 Capital Plaza and has draw attention ever since the exterior was painted bright pink in April.

The opening comes as Pride Month kicks off – which is not a coincidence, Soldati said. Pride Month, an informal celebration of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer culture, will be celebrated with a variety of events throughout the state.

The name of the business comes from its mothership location in Somersworth, where Soldati was born and raised. After getting sober in 2010 and moving back home from London, he wanted to create a business that was a welcoming hangout and came up with the name Teatotaller, a riff on the British word for someone who doesn’t drink alcohol.

“I had no clue what I was doing. I had no business experience other than a lemonade stand from my childhood, which was actually a block away,” Soldati said. “But ultimately, the community really responded like there just were people in Somersworth and in Berwick, Maine that were like ‘Oh, finally we don’t have to go to Portsmouth or Portland or Boston.”

Soldati continued to hone his business acumen and the cafe began to make a name for itself, hosting drag queen nights and offering an eclectic menu of signature sandwiches and drinks.

“You’ve got to have good coffee, you’ve got to have espresso, you’ve got to have food, you’ve got to have music, you’ve got to have shows,” Soldati said. “Our brand really evolved in the first few years. Sort of a gestational period for us. Another aspect that I had always been interested in is having a business that’s a little bit campy and a little bit queer in a way that is still accessible for a lot of people.”

Soldati set his sights on Concord for his second location – a plan that was stalled by the pandemic but has finally come to fruition.

Teatotaller will be open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. As in Somersworth, its specialty is boba, or bubble tea, and it serves an array of breakfast items, drinks and salads.

“This is an opportunity to come and check out what we’re up to,” said Soldati.

David Brooks bio photo

David Brooks is a reporter and the writer of the sci/tech column Granite Geek and blog, as well as moderator of Science Cafe Concord events. After obtaining a bachelor’s degree in mathematics he became a newspaperman, working in Virginia and Tennessee before spending 28 years at the Nashua Telegraph . He joined the Monitor in 2015.

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