Aug. 08, 2012 - Issue #877: Corb Your Enthusiasm
A new spin on coffee culture
Roast Coffeehouse + Wine Bar hits 104th
10359 - 104 St
With the revitalization of the century-old Mercer Warehouse on the Fourth Street Promenade comes a stable of new businesses, including Roast Coffeehouse + Wine Bar, which is ready to shake up the coffee status quo.
Owner Matt Hall, who has spent the past decade in the coffee industry, would like Roast to be a conducive environment for all times of day, whether that means catering to someone who wants to come in and read a book or a business couple looking for post-work wine and appetizers.
"I think the big thing is, we look at our business as a full-service," Hall says, adding he would like Roast to be part of the community, not just another business operating within it. "We're looking at how we can take, OK what's average, what's the basic level of customer service, what's out there and how do we put our own spin on it and take it to the next level."
The result is a combination of Hall's passion for coffee, wine, high-quality food and craft beer. Hall adds he wanted to take the local aspect one step further by carrying exclusively Canadian wines and beer.
"That's coming from my personal preference and just my belief in supporting local," he notes, adding alcohol will be served daily starting at 2 pm. "It's supporting the Canadian economy and Canadian farmers."
Of course, there's got to be some top-notch coffee in order to compete with the lengthy list of already-established coffee shops in the city. Roast has joined forces with Verve Coffee Roasters, a premium Canadian coffee company dedicated to fostering direct relationships with farmers, a commitment to quality and a focus on small batch artisan roasting.
"They don't have a warehouse full of coffee that's already roasted and waiting to get shipped out. It's all done by order and I get it within 24 hours of our order being placed," Hall says, adding there will never be a bag of coffee within the shop that's more than a week-and-a-half old.
Along with classics like cappuccinos, Americanos and lattés, Roast will be crafting a menu of speciality coffee beverages ranging from white chocolate mochas to more outside-the-box creations like a maple bacon latté. The concoction consists of Canadian maple syrup, espresso, steamed milk, whipped cream and a candied bacon spear, which Hall says resembles a cinnanon stick.
"You can expect to see different things that maybe people wouldn't normally order. We call it the creative barista menu," Hall says, adding he likes to let his staff experiment.
The commitment to quality at Roast extends to the syrups used to flavour speciality coffees as well. Hall says Roast has decided to use exclusively vegan-certified syrup from Sweet Bird, a company that uses all natural ingredients, rather than artificial sweeteners.
Coffee may be a strong focus, but Roast hasn't forgotten about the tea drinkers. Green, white, black, rooibos, you name it. Each is brewed to perfection and different varieties are made using healthy ingredients such as whole fruit pieces, nuts, spices and flower petals.
There's been some confusion as to whether or not Roast has a kitchen, but Hall assures there is one, complete with an in-house chef. Starting at 4 pm, customers will be able to indulge in tapas-style small plates, including flatbreads and a variety of house-made dips. Breakfast and lunch will also be served, with lunch courtesy of Chopped Leaf.
"It's a great relationship because it's another local business," Hall says. "We really wanted to offer our guests in the building that option to have a nice, quick, easy, fresh, healthy lunch, and they do a great job."
Lunch items include a variety of salads, wraps and sandwiches, with several gluten-free or vegan options.
Hall and the Roast team realize the importance of their customers, and plan to give back to them through a reward points system. Once customers join the program via Facebook, they'll start racking up points through social media actions and purchases made through Roast's online store. Points can be cashed in for simple prizes such as a free drink or something a little more extravagant, such as a party for you and 50 of your friends.
"Social media is a large portion of who we are and connecting with our customers," Hall explains. "We also wanted to reward them because we know our customers are out there talking about us."
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