Elm Cafe has been a long time coming for Nate Box. After an exhaustive search for a storefront, he was happy to announce in September 2009 that he had landed the space formerly occupied by Hulbert’s in McKernan/Belgravia. It would have allowed him to serve three square meals, in a neighbourhood bereft of good dining options, with ample patio seating. Unfortunately, negotiations fell through, and he was forced to start from scratch, again.
Nine months later, Elm Cafe finally found a home, and after a few weeks of renovations, transformed from an underutilized sandwich shop to a beautiful, modern space. Though it’s barely larger than a generous walk-in closet, it more than makes up for its small size with charm.
As the website states, Elm offers “take-away craft sandwiches, light fare, premium coffee and beverages.” With two seats along the bar and (hopefully) some outdoor seating later in the summer, it’s not hard to see that Elm focuses on grab-and-go food (menu here). By the time I reached Elm late in the afternoon, they were all sold out of sandwiches (by 1pm, apparently!), but you can take a look at Kelly’s blog for what to expect. Follow their Twitter account to find out what the daily sandwich and soup will be.
On the coffee front, Nate decided to go with 49th Parallel, a Vancouver-based roaster. He had travelled to #yvr in late May to learn more about the coffees, and for the first two days of Elm’s opening, has the privilege of hosting Sammy Piccolo, who placed second at the 2009 World Barista Championships.
Nate and Sammy
I was heading to Indulgence later that night, so ordered a straight brewed coffee for a light afternoon pick-me-up ($2.25). In all my excitement, I forgot to ask the origin of the beans, but I am happy to report that the coffee was full-bodied and smooth.
49th Parallel beans
Many congratulatory bouquets were on display (including a clever morel bouquet from Thea and Chad), and I think Nate deserves all the accolades for powering through and making Elm happen, even with all of the setbacks. With his passion for good food and community, I think Nate is on to something great.
More(l) well wishes
I can’t wait to go back and try the food.
#100, 10140 117 Street
Monday-Wednesday 7am-5pm, Thursday-Friday 7am-7pm, Saturday 8am-4pm, closed Sundays