Nestled between historic Mechanics Hall, the newly revitalized DCU Center and the impressive MCPHS University, stands a new café ready to transport everyday coffee drinkers to the rustic environs of Europe’s famous cities.
Latin for “fresh green color” and “youthful vigor,” Viriditas, 6 Waldo St., offers coffee aficionados the sweet life of local growth.
“Through my travels, I have become a fan of the architecture and closeness of markets in Europe. The big wooden doors and the ceiling imprints always stand out in my mind. So, when we started to throw out ideas for this space, we immediately agreed on opening a market and café with Europe as the inspiration,” says Tim Moynagh, co-owner of Viriditas.
Moynagh comes from a long line of business owners in the heart of Worcester.
His grandfather, Robert J. Moynagh, opened Moynagh’s Tavern in 1935 on Exchange Street, right around the corner from the newly existing Viriditas. Holding the oldest active liquor license in the history of the city, Moynagh’s Tavern is now owned by Tim Moynagh’s father, Robert P. Moynagh, and continues to be a beacon in the Worcester community.
“My father owns this building, and we wanted a business to open here that would give life to Waldo Street,” Tim Moynagh said.
“It was vacant for months. We had some interest from business owners, but nothing really solid. We spoke with Peter Dunn from the city and he helped us with the façade incentive grant program,” said Moynagh of Dunn, who serves as co-chairman of the Worcester Business Resource Alliance and is Business Programs Manager for Worcester’s Executive Office of Economic Development.
Dunn “has been great throughout this process, even in the toughest parts of the renovation, and here we are,” he said.
The façade and awning incentive grant program from the city, a program that grants downtown businesses up to $25,000, gave new life to the Viriditas project. But it wasn’t the only factor in turning this into a must-see space.
“Viriditas is here, and we owe a lot to Kathryn. She has definitely been a huge aspect in all of this,” said Moynagh of his general manager, Kathryn Stanley. “She has been able to turn this place into a great space for customers. She is a great fit.”
In the past two years, Volturno Pizza on Shrewsbury Street has been a platform for rising stars [Editor’s note: Check out this profile of another new establishment by a Volturno alum.] in the local restaurant industry, and Stanley is the latest talent to emerge from the Neapolitan-themed pizza place.
“We want to build a connection between our customers and our vendors, and the best way to do that is by offering distinct products from local small businesses that have a great story to tell.” — Kathryn Stanley, general manager
“I have a bachelor’s degree in culinary from Johnson & Wales and have been in the restaurant industry for many, many years. I have done everything from being a hostess to a manager, and I have always wanted to manage a great space like Viriditas,” Stanley said.
“The opportunity presented itself when I was bartending at Volturno’s. Tim was discussing ideas about this new venture he was looking to open, and we just clicked,” she said. “I have always wanted to have the flexibility of offering something special to customers, but not just as a product but also as an experience.”
The Moynagh-Stanley duo are looking to create a space that brings in culture and growth, as the name suggests, so this won’t be your usual café or marketplace.
Stanley wants to capture a new side of Worcester by becoming highly interactive with events: Thursday farmers markets on Waldo Street and afternoon tea parties for adults. Stanley sees the benefits of Viriditas being rooted in the community.
“We are all about the local stories. Behind every vendor we work with, there is a story about their company and their product that separates them from everyone else,” she said. “We want to build a connection between our customers and our vendors, and the best way to do that is by offering distinct products from local small businesses that have a great story to tell.”
Working with an endless list of local small businesses, Viriditas hopes to become a support system for the local economy. Showcasing a diverse group of farm-grown veggies, delicious maple syrup from Auburn and an upcoming signature blend of coffees, Viriditas leaves no stone unturned when searching for the best quality.
“We want to boost our vendors. We want to open the doors for other businesses to flourish and establish Worcester as a foodie city. We [Worcester] are already on the verge of that market. We have some amazing places in Worcester and we want to continue that trend,” Stanley said.
“I think that we will do well here on Waldo Street, with the ability to provide great catering options for our neighboring major businesses like the DCU Center. We want to be the place that Worcester residents love to come and spend time.
“My ideas for events in the next few months are things that haven’t been done yet in Worcester or are hard to come by,” she said. “I mean, where else can adults get dressed up on a Sunday afternoon and head to a cool tea party in a place that looks like a piece of Europe? You usually get that in places like New York, but I want to bring these events here,” Stanley said with a smile.
Viriditas had a soft opening Dec. 16 and is anticipating a grand opening in the next few months.
“We wanted to test our area this week, before the holidays, and it has been great so far,” said Stanley. “We hope to keep the momentum going.”