- The new cocktail bar plans to open this summer.
- The owners plan to feature a food menu that includes charcuterie boards and appetizers.
PEORIA — The whereabouts of the musical instrument Mitchell Popadziuk’s mother used to play is anybody’s guess.
But that missing zither soon might be found, at least figuratively, next door to CxT Roasting Company in North Peoria.
The coffee shop in the Keller Station development at 6035 N. Knoxville Ave. is to expand, according to Popadziuk, who in 2016 established CxT.
Most of about a 3,300-square-foot space next door to the CxT retail store is to house much of its wholesale roasting operation. It’s to include a packaging and processing area, as well as laboratory equipment used to test coffees.
But some 1,300 square feet is to be dedicated to a craft-cocktail bar. According to Popadziuk, the emphasis is to be on coffee-centric alcoholic drinks, including martinis.
Popadziuk cited other coffee-infused products, including barbecue rubs and ice cream, as an inspiration.
“There’s a lot of those types of things,” he said. “This just seemed like a natural extension, to move coffee to a cocktail/adult-beverage type of thing.”
The working name for the bar is The Missing Zither. Popadziuk said it’s rooted in an old story regarding the long-gone stringed wooden box that belonged to his mom, Kelly.
“It kind of became an inside family joke,” he said with a chuckle. “Our mother’s not the most musically talented of individuals, so she had a lot of pride that she could play that instrument.”
Preliminary plans call for CxT and The Missing Zither to share outdoor patio space. The wholesale-roasting facility is to be located behind the cocktail-bar area.
“Stylistically, it’ll be cohesive with our cafe and have a nice vibe to it,” Popadziuk said.
A light-food menu that features charcuterie boards and appetizers is planned.
Cocktail-bar hours probably will shift later than those of CxT. The coffee shop is open daily, usually from 6:30 a.m. until 7 p.m.
If all goes according to plan, the cocktail bar might open in early summer, with the wholesale and packaging expansion ready this spring.
The coronavirus pandemic helped spark the CxT wholesale business, Popadziuk suggested.
Online sales, including a coffee subscription service, grew as customers were unable to visit in person because of lockdowns related to COVID-19. The pandemic also resulted in temporary closure of the CxT location along Main Street in Downtown Peoria.
“We definitely had to do a few things out of order because of COVID,” Popadziuk said. “But I think we had a pretty strong foundation of core business and good partnerships with other businesses and a great following with the local community.”