Tao Te Cafe: a celebration of health and community
Tao Te Cafe, a poke bowl tea house at Body Balance Academy
The Union Building
151 Mill Street, Grass Valley
Reservations for Wednesday evening poke bowls from 5:30 to 8 p.m. at http://www.TaoTeCafe.com
Tea house is open from 3 to 5 p.m., Tuesdays and Thursdays.
Grand opening and ribbon cutting 5:30 p.m. on May 16.
One of Nevada County’s visionaries has once again created a new space in the name of optimizing health and well-being in a modern world.
Shih Fu Eileen Hancock, founder of Body Balance Academy in Grass Valley, has long dreamed of creating a tea house and event center that would embody the spirit of the successful 16-year-old academy. Founded in 2003, the academy’s mission has been to keep the ancient traditional lineage of Tai Chi, Kung Fu, Xing Yi, Qi Gong, Ba Gua and Taoist meditation alive, making them accessible to all and to helping students achieve the benefits of lifelong health, regardless of age or fitness level.
After 15 years of renting the upper floor of The Union newspaper’s old downtown building at 151 Mill St., Hancock, a world-ranked Kung Fu and Tai Chi practitioner, was able to purchase the entire building in July of 2018. Over the years she had fallen in love with the historic building, and last summer the ideas for a tea house and event venue on the ground floor began to flow, she said.
“I envisioned a calm, centered place,” said Hancock. “A place where people could feel the presence of Tao without taking a class.”
In July, construction of “Tao Te Cafe” began with the installation of a floating bamboo floor and the construction of a custom, S-shaped California walnut tea bar supported by flowing manzanita posts. The wheelchair-accessible event facility, The Union Square Event Center, features an open floor plan with an elevated stage area, exposed brick walls, hand-painted Buddhist scrolls, a large screen, projector, sound system and lots of natural light.
“My vision was to provide a space for students and families to gather — and to make it a hub and event venue for nonprofits that share our vision and are invested in the greater good,” said Hancock. “This is one way we can contribute to the goal of lifelong health and harmony for everyone in our community. Portions of the proceeds from the cafe and event space will to go community nonprofit organizations, such as those that help veterans and people who are unable to afford classes.”
In addition, Lifelong Health, Inc., a nonprofit offshoot of Body Balance Academy, also partners with nonprofit community organizations, serving clients who would benefit from participation in the academy’s programs. The academy continues to welcome new partnership inquiries and community collaborations.
In addition to serving traditional health-oriented tea blends, the peaceful space will also include ol’ Republic Brewery beer on tap, an organic, biodynamic wine bar, saké cocktails, (dubbed “sakétails”) and the ever-popular poke bowls, which are traditionally slices of marinated sustainable raw fish and vegetables tossed over rice with umami-infused sauces.
An official grand opening and ribbon-cutting for the Tao Te Cafe is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. on May 16, at which time more regular hours will be announced. Currently, members of the public can reserve a spot online at http://www.TaoTeCafe.com for “Weekly Wednesday Poke Bowls” from 5:30 to 8 p.m. On Saturday nights, the large adjacent room is available for event rentals and catering is available for up to 100 people.
“Everything we’ve done in the cafe is custom-made with the goal of honoring and preserving this historical town hub,” said Hancock. “It’s a place for people of all ages to gather, where everyday is a celebration of life.”
To contact Staff Writer Cory Fisher, email her at Cory@theunion.com.
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