Concept: The Secret Garden
Mastermind: Jonathan Gallardo
Known for: Prohibition Supper Club
Style: Global coffee and inspired cocktails
Tucked into a wrought-iron-fenced enclave just off Main Street, Bravery Chef Hall’s The Secret Garden beckons with plush seating and cozy tables shaded by umbrellas. Most mornings, its soundtrack is the hiss of steam from cappuccino and the tink-tink-tink of spoons against ceramic mugs. But as the sun starts to sink, the garden’s soundtrack morphs into the distinct sh-sh-sh of ice against a cocktail shaker and the satisfying waterfall of a well-crafted concoction being poured into a glass.
A cozy spot between Main Street and the back entry of Atlas Diner, The Secret Garden was conceived to be everything from morning coffee shop to weekend brunch spot to laid-back bar. Headed by Jonathan Gallardo, a native of Monterrey, Mexico who worked behind Prohibition Supper Club’s bar for six years, it’s a global concept within a global concept within a global city core.
“When the Bravery partners described what this would be to me, I was amazed,” he says. “I thought this was going to be so different in such a good way.”
Encouraged by Bravery partners Ahn Mai and Lian Nguyen, Gallardo decided to come on board to run the hybrid program. A 15-year veteran of bars and the hospitality industry, he looks forward seeing The Secret Garden grow as a gathering spot. With its own entrance, the patio place can accommodate diners before Bravery opens for the day and after it closes in the evening. Both The Secret Garden and its closest neighbor, Atlas Diner, can be closed off from the rest of the hall to offer late-night and early-morning fare.
The Secret Garden’s coffee program is crammed with international offerings. Turkish coffee, Vietnamese iced coffee, traditional French presses and Italian styles dominate the menu. Gallardo has been helped on the coffee side by Nana Pesquera, who brings nine years of experience to the venture, having worked at Agora over in Montrose and also in Vietnam, Lebanon and Thailand. The pastry selections are designed to complement the coffees, and Gallardo says there’s an array of traditional croissants and muffins, as well as some things that he considers truly special.
“We have al sajorpa, these traditional Argentinean cookies, that we make using my grandmother’s recipe,” he says, “She would make these when I was growing up and share them with the whole family. I can’t wait to share them with everybody.”
The coffee bar options are available starting at 7:30 in the morning. As the morning eases on to lunchtime and later happy hour, the cocktail program takes over. Gallardo refers to it as “lady driven,” offering lighter libations, including selections such as frozé and other frozen concoctions, as well as cocktails made with fresh juices, designed to be accompaniments to the weekend brunch.
“This is definitely a different kind of program,” Gallardo says about the combined concept. “But I think it’s going to something people really love. People love to be outside when the weather is great, so here they can come and sit, have a drink, or grab something from one of the restaurants inside and bring it out here to enjoy with coffee or a cocktail.”
With the bar seating and the lounge space, The Secret Garden can easily accommodate 40 people, making it a natural spot to hang out. The space feels a world away from Downtown’s hustle and flow, and drinkers and diners will likely see it as an oasis.