Part scientist’s lab, part fine-sipping experience, we have finally opened the latest installment of our collective of Calgary cafés in the East Village’s Simmons Building. This new café is part of a partnership between three of Calgary’s most-hailed culinary establishments and together we are creating a gastronomic experience unlike any other in the country. Along with Phil & Sebastian, the location will be home to local bread master Sidewalk Citizen and a new restaurant from the chefs behind the nationally-lauded Charcut.
The 400-seat establishment, once used to manufacture mattresses, will now be a venue used to manufacture culinary experiences, starting with a fresh look at the coffee experience. It has been the long-time dream of ours to bring the same level of awareness and appreciation to our industry as has become commonplace in the wine industry. The concept café (as the Simmons location is informally referred to) is a big step in a series of many that is been taking aim to do just that.
For starters, at the Simmons’ cafe the baristas work the till. And not just any baristas. The counter at Simmons will be manned by our ambassadors — some of the most qualified and experienced coffee artisans in the country. These baristas take your order, but they’ll also take you through the whole brewing experience. And make no mistake, it is an experience; there are a variety of by-the-cup brewing methods, and tasting flights of brewed coffee and espresso. For the adventuresome there will also be an opportunity to experience ongoing coffee creations, ranging from the palate pleasing to the palate challenging. Patrons can look forward to such culinary experiments as an espresso brownie bite, and an egg foam espresso ‘mock-tail’.
Once you’ve ordered your creation, you can take a guided tour of our new open-display roasting facility, where the crown jewel of the operation, the refurbished Probat G-45 roaster. You can also check out our training centre and research and development lab, all of which will be open to the public for various events. From there you can grab a pastry from Sidewalk Citizen, make a reservation for dinner at Charbar and take in the Bow River from the rooftop patio.
The Simmons Building
Formerly a factory warehouse for a national bedding manufacturer, the Simmons building has been undergoing restoration since 2008. A heroic amount of effort has been made to bring it up to 21st-century specifications while retaining and restoring its historical character, and transforming it into an exciting culinary destination along the newly redeveloped river walk in the East Village. The building will have over 400 seats, with 40 on the outdoor patio overlooking the Bow River. The space will also be available for corporate rentals, and private events.
The East Village
Spanning 49 acres between Fort Calgary and the downtown business core, the East Village was Calgary’s first neighbourhood. Its central location along the banks of the Bow River makes it a highly desirable piece of real estate. Unfortunately the area fell on hard times, and became known for vacant lots and neglected buildings until in 2005 Calgary’s City Council created the Calgary Municipal Land Corporation (CMLC) and tasked them with revitalizing the area. Take a walk through the East Village today and you’ll see it’s in the midst of an exciting transformation. Where derelict buildings, and cracked sidewalks once held reign, the infrastructure for a vibrant, mixed-use urban village is beginning to form. The National Music Centre is well under development, as is the new Central Library. There will be a Loblaws, a Hilton, a new hotel by the founders of Le Germain, multiple condo developments and of course the perfect place to grab a cup of coffee. Learn more at www.evexperience.com/.
Owned by bread-legend Aviv Fried, Sidewalk Citizen uses local ingredients to create world-class handmade sourdough breads, croissants and other delectable baked goods. Learn more at www.sidewalkcitizen.com
Charbar is the newest restaurant from the nationally acclaimed team behind Charcut, John Jackson and Connie DeSousa. Their latest culinary foray is sure to inspire the palate with offerings from their wood fired ovens and other forms of epicurean wizardry. Learn more at www.charcut.com/.
More Than Coffee
Sharing a space with world-class food purveyors can only mean good things for our customers. We serve an assortment of pastries, desserts and breakfast and lunch items made daily by Sidewalk Citizen.
We also have an evening snacks menu curated by the folks at Charbar, complemented with a tasty wine and beer list.
Phil & Sebastian and Sidewalk have over 110 seats combined, including over 40 on the outdoor patio overlooking the Bow River. The entire Simmons Building will have over 400 seats.
World Class Restaurant Coffee
Having a café and a restaurant collocated in the same space gives us a unique opportunity to elevate the after-meal coffee experience. All coffees ordered at the restaurant will be made by our baristas, giving restaurant customers a rare chance to have their coffee made by an expert on state of the art equipment.
The collaboration with charbar is exciting in that we will be able to plan very cool tasting experiences including special coffee pairings, tableside coffee brewing and cross customer education.
All photos by Vanessa Ng (our talented Wholesale Manager).