Regular listeners of the show will know that we had local retaurantrepreneur Nate Box on the show last episode. We wanted to talk with Nate about his latest business venture, elm café — an approximately 200 sq. ft. café just a block and a half south of Oliver School west of the downtown core. After a few delays — some self-imposed, others inflicted by higher powers (including a ceiling collapse which thankfully harmed nothing except the open date) — elm café (#100, 10140 117 St) quietly opened its doors bright and early Monday morning at 7am.
I stopped in because I wanted delicious morning coffee… and I wanted to be their first customer. Sadly, I wasn’t early enough. I was merely customer #2, as the owner of the building grabbed a cup of joe on his way into work. Still, I was greeted with true warmth. Besides, I prefer to think of myself as #1 all the same — not unlike Commander Riker, who was second only to Captain Picard.
I spoke briefly with Nate and Claire (his wife) about their new project in between sips of what I would call, without hyperbole, one of the best lattés I’ve ever tasted.
Right now, elm café is carrying Duchess Bakeshop muffins as well as panini which is pressed and heated for you once you order it. Otherwise, the keystone of the café is its namesake (no, you fool not elms! cafés!). While the food will change periodically, coffee is the shining star. Nate picked 49th Parallel coffee beans, sourced in British Columbia, as his ingredient of choice.
The café itself is pristine and minimalist. Light grey concrete countertops, white cabinetry and a lovely, simple menu board make the café feel larger than it is. The whole east wall is a series of windows, which definitely helps to open up the space as well.
elm café will feature artwork and photography from local talent, which will change every month. This month (and for the next 6 weeks, according to Nate, due to the delayed opening) photographs of Mexican wrestlers taken by Jessica Fern Facette adorn the walls.
I can safely say I’ll be making elm one of my regular morning stops, if only to see the smiling faces of some of Edmonton’s talented restaurantrepreneurs… There aren’t enough of them in this town.