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Braselton coffee house looks to add liquor to menu
Mocha Moe's already serves beer and wine
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Customers stand outside Mocha Moe's Coffee House in Gainesville on Wednesday. The owners are looking to expand their liquor license so they will be able to serve hard liquor in the coffee shop. - photo by David Barnes

From seniors rolling up in their golf carts to teens on first date, there’s something for everyone at Mocha Moe’s in South Hall.

The coffee house opened its doors May 18, 2016, and has since grown into a fixture for nearby Flowery Branch and Braselton.

When the owners of Mocha Moe’s Coffee House and More launched their shop, they imagined a first-rate cafe that focused on coffee first and food second.

But as time goes on, the community seems to focus on the “and More” part.

“Everyone wants us to be a restaurant,” said Mary Ann Behiry, a co-owner of the shop. “... It just keeps growing and growing and people want more.”

Behiry runs the shop with her stepson, Moe Behiry, and his wife, Samantha Behiry. They’ve conceded to demands a bit and now sell breakfast, lunch and tapas — small-plate appetizers usually ordered in groups.

Shortly after the shop opened, the Behirys began selling craft beer and wine at the bar of their 3,800-square-foot shop. Now, they’ve applied for an amendment to their alcohol license with the city of Braselton that will allow them to sell liquor.

The shop on Spout Springs Road finds itself in a bit of a no-man’s-land and at different times deals with Braselton, Flowery Branch and Hall County. It gets its liquor licenses from Braselton.

Braselton Mayor Bill Orr said on Wednesday that Mocha Moe’s has been a good neighbor and a thriving business. At 4 p.m. Thursday, the Braselton Town Council will discuss the amendment to the alcohol license, allowing Mocha Moe’s to sell liquor seven days a week.

“It seems to be a very popular place,” Orr said. “A lot of people go over there and have meetings. I do know my own daughter goes over there to study.”

The addition of liquor is part of their growth as a business that seeks to cater to a wide demographic, which currently includes teenagers of Flowery Branch looking for a place to kill time or go on a first date to the seniors at the Village at Deaton Creek retirement community

“They absolutely love us,” Behiry said of the residents of Deaton Creek, drawing out the word to sound like “loooove.”

“They can come to us on their golf cart, and they have things that they love — they love really nice, drip coffee,” she continued. “Just plain brewed coffee. We have almond chicken salad – little old ladies love almond chicken salad, oh my gosh.”

Then there are the 10-year-olds who want to have their birthday parties at Mocha Moe’s, the band groupies who turn up to see their favorite musical acts or the artists checking in to see how their pieces — displayed on consignment at the shop — are doing.

“I have had people fall dead asleep on my couches. It’s that kind of place – it’s extremely comfortable,” Behiry said. “It’s kind of in sections, like a living room section and then a dining room area, then the stage and the bar area. People love to just hang out.”

Along with its bar, Mocha Moe’s has a stage for musicians. One of the regular bands, Whispering Gypsies, has played at the shop about once a month since it opened.

“It’s a cool place to play from the band side of things,” said guitarist Logan Pethel. “We primarily do full band kind of gigs. We’re playing at Hard Rock Atlanta — Mocha Moe’s is a complete 180 from what we would normally do. It’s a nice change for us.”

Pethel and drummer, Devin Glasper, bassist Sean Thomas and vocalist, Malachi Mills play “kind of a soul, pop, blues” set of music.

They like playing the venue because it’s “local and it’s fun and a lot of our close friends come out to see us. It’s very intimate,” Pethel said.

But then there are the people who show up unaware of the band — just strolling in to grab a bite, a coffee or beer — and discover something new.

The surprise, whether from the music or the art or the food or drinks, is part of the charm of a startup shop willing to try things out and see what fits.

“We’re just a small business trying to make it,” Behiry said.

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