I pass the Mercer Warehouse twice every day on my way to and from work, so I can’t tell you how much I have been looking forward to the opening of Roast Coffeehouse and Wine Bar (102, 10359 104 Street). Given the Starbucks at Quest on 105 Street closed a few months back, Roast is now the closest coffee shop to my office, handy for those days where an extra pick-me-up is needed. Having announced that their soft opening would be taking place today, Mack and I headed to Roast this morning before work.
Mack loved the “R” sign marking the entrance, and the patio furniture that takes advantage of the Promenade’s wide walkways. He would have preferred that the benches faced the sidewalk instead of the street, but it is still better than no outdoor furniture!
No question, the space has been fully renovated. Mack had a chance to visit the space in January, and it looked nothing like it does now. The brick and floors had been painted over, and the strained, fluorescent lighting did nothing to highlight the character of the historical building.
Until now: the owners of Roast did a great job – I loved the exposed brick and re-varnished floors, and thought the pressed tin was a nice touch as well. The space actually reminded me a lot of the newest location of Dark Horse in Toronto, right down to the chalkboard menu and the fact that they also had to open without an espresso machine.
The interior was warm and inviting, with a lot of different seating options, including booths that would suit large groups very well, and even a secluded community table.
Mack and I chose to have a brewed coffee each ($2.50 for a small). Roast serves California-based Verve Coffee, and had a good selection of their beans for sale. And though they didn’t have their espresso capabilities up and running yet, I love their fun take on lattes, with both a crème brule and maple bacon latte on the menu. You can take a look at their full drink menu here.
For the home brewing crowd
For food, Roast serves up pastries and desserts from The Good Oven (run by the people who had started Fresh Start Bistro, who then shifted their focus to catering) and lunch items from The Chopped Leaf. I have to say I’m a little disappointed that Roast didn’t choose to make any food in-house – given their competition is Credo (who bakes their own treats fresh daily) and Transcend (who has a rockin’ South American menu).
We didn’t get a full picture of their wine and evening menu, but it’ll be interesting to see how this evolves. The cafe + wine bar concept hasn’t taken off in Edmonton, and with Mercer Tavern next door, would those looking for a post-work drink choose Roast over the neighbouring bar? That said, if they create the right atmosphere (and it looks like they’ll be bringing in some live musicians at some point), perhaps they can cultivate that aspect of their business after all.
I’m excited that there is finally a business to anchor the other end of 104 Street, and look forward to coming back again! And with the Tavern opening up this weekend, it really is a great time to visit the Promenade.
Roast Coffeehouse and Wine Bar
102, 10359 104 Street