38 & Vine + Trinity Coffee House
An innovative wine bar and an intimate coffee house operated by a family invested in The Foundry District.
In a unique twist, this spotlight covers not one, but two Foundry District businesses! Sam & Jennifer Demel aren’t just a North Texas real estate power couple – they’re also the owners of two amazing businesses in TFD.
38 & Vine is an incredibly inventive wine bar that uses a card & tap system, showcasing a selection of over forty rotating wine taps. Specializing in bringing wines from far and wide to Fort Worth, this Foundry staple became a fixture almost immediately.
Their second destination, the recently-opened and absolutely charming Trinity Coffee House, is serving morning commuters and all-day workers alike with a perfect blend of coffee and coworking.
Check out our interview with the Demels to learn what inspired these two businesses and why they believe in the power of collaboration between local businesses.
Fort Worth is our home, so we always knew we’d be back here when my playing career was over. What’s great about starting a business here is that it isn’t a proving ground for new ideas like the East or West Coast. Instead, we get to take the best concepts and introduce them to an audience hungry for innovation in our own backyard.
– Sam Demel, The Demel Group
After Sam transitioned away from baseball and both of you earned an award-winning reputation in real estate, what inspired you to launch additional businesses like 38 & Vine and Trinity Coffee House?
Traveling the East Coast and West Coast during Sam’s baseball career, and keeping an eye on the business climate back home in Fort Worth, we saw that there was a short delay between new concepts finding success on the coasts and then arriving in Texas. We’d fallen in love with self-serve wine bars elsewhere, and the timing was kind of perfect.
As we were looking at getting a self-serve wine business off the ground, Texas passed legislation making it legal to run a wine bar with this concept. From there we were off to the races!
In addition to the wine selection, the experience of 38 & Vine is truly unique, with the card system and self-serve concept. What led you to this innovative approach and why do you think patrons have responded so positively?
While we were among the first to do it in Texas, we weren’t the first self-serve wine concept nationally. There are some amazing businesses in New York and California that have perfected the concept, and we got to learn from what worked and didn’t work in those spaces.
As far as a customer response, it’s been incredibly positive! The number one comment we hear from customers is that they love being able to try a handful of different wines during a single visit, rather than agonizing over a single bottle to purchase. It’s the variety that people expect from a cocktail bar or a craft brewery, and they’re happy to have it at a wine bar now too.
Unfortunately, we’ve had to pivot to a traditional bottle concept during the COVID-19 pandemic, but we look forward to turning the taps back on again as soon as safely possible!
With the 42 curated taps constantly rotating, you’ve had the chance to try an innumerable amount of different wines. Do you have any personal favorites that are a can’t-miss selection the next time they’re on tap?
Absolutely! From day one, our favorite wine on-tap has been anything from J. Davies. It’s just incredible. As far as something unique to the area that we recommend not missing, we’ve recently been showcasing Lebanese wine, which isn’t something you don’t see every day in Texas. It’s really delicious and a bit different from other varieties.
In general, we take a very broad approach. We actually don’t showcase a ton of local/Texas wine because it’s so easy to find around here. We view our purpose as providing a customer-friendly window into a much larger world of wine.
The younger of your two Foundry-located businesses is Trinity Coffee House. After finding success with 38 & Vine, when did you decide to venture into coffee?
First of all, we had been in love with that corner coffee shop space forever, so when it came up for lease, we couldn’t imagine it being anything other than a coffee shop. We also really believed in the value of having a morning destination bringing patrons into The Foundry District, so we took it upon ourselves to keep coffee in the district!
Trinity Coffee House is primarily Jennifer’s project, and she’s overseen the interior design, the selection of local art & murals to showcase inside, and the whole of the customer experience. We kept on as much of the previous coffee shop’s staff as possible and implemented a new philosophy that’s extremely customer-centric. There are already a lot of coffee shops in Fort Worth, so we want Trinity Coffee House to be known as the friendliest, warmest of them all. A place where customers aren’t afraid to ask the barista a question or try something new. That’s something we felt was missing.
Trinity Coffee House blends coffee and coworking – why do you think they pair so well together?
Who doesn’t want to work at their favorite coffee shop?! We’ve seen other coffee/coworking businesses find great success, but the thing we’re doing a little bit differently is creating a real separation in terms of operations between coffee and coworking. While most coffee/coworking concepts have the coffee staff pulling double-duty as salespeople for the coworking spaces, we have a separate team overseeing the acquisition of new tenants and the satisfaction of existing tenants. This frees our coffee team up to focus on what they do best – making amazing coffee!
Tell us about your partnership with Thrive, offering CBD add-ons to any beverage.
We try to take a holistic view when it comes to our businesses. People are already balancing coffee, CBD products, and other natural remedies as they look to take the best care of themselves possible, so it just made sense to us to save them a step. We really believe in the work that Thrive is doing and the response to our CBD offering has been very positive!
You’ve earned a reputation for collaboration with other local businesses like Pearl Snap Kolaches and other partners – are there any upcoming partnerships in the works?
We really believe that this business community is at its best when everyone is working together. We try to have at least one local business partnership in the coffee shop every weekend, and those partnerships go beyond bringing in other local food & beverage businesses. We’ve had pet adoption events through Pups For Cups and we’ve also brought in local flower vendors selling roses around Valentine’s Day.
How have your businesses adapted in response to COVID-19 realities?
At both 38 & Vine and Trinity Coffee House, we’re lucky to have talented, innovative General Managers who have helped to shift our philosophy and find unique ways to stay profitable. At 38 & Vine, as we mentioned, we made the shift to a traditional bottle menu to provide the safest possible experience. We also dramatically expanded our food menu and the size of our charcuterie boards to make 38 & Vine a singular evening destination, rather than one stop among many.
That’s a shift we’ve seen in customer behavior – folks are going out more and more, but they’re really only visiting one destination. So, we’ve made strategic choices to make 38 & Vine a more substantial only stop of the evening spot.
For Trinity Coffee House, we completed our renovation and opened our doors during COVID, so it’s pretty much been our normal over there! But we look forward to when we can interact more directly with customers and facilitate those coffee shop conversations that people know and love.
To learn more about 38 & Vine, visit ThirtyEightAndVine.com and be sure to follow them on social at @ThirtyEightAndVine.
For Trinity Coffee House, check out their amazing art and full menu at TrinityCoffeeHouseFW.com and follow them on social at @TrinityCoffeeHouseFW. Thank you to the Demels for sharing their thoughts and being so invested in the success of The Foundry District!