The Woodrack Café officially opened their doors last week, a welcome addition to the McKernan and Queen Alexandra neighbourhoods just south of Garneau. 109th is a busy street, so there’s no doubt that commuting Edmontonians have driven past the new storefront wondering when they could grab a cup of coffee and enjoy the space. It’s finally here!
I’m not sure why I was expecting a small shop, the corner unit is expansive with numerous seating areas. Catching up with a friend is ideal on the couch and in front of the fireplace; or perhaps a small table to set up a work- or study-space; or if you’d like to chat to co-owner Kristy (nicknamed Shammy by friends and family), sit alongside the bar and watch her make up your coffee.
Since I entered through the 76th Avenue entrance, the first thing that caught my eye was the “Take a Book, Leave a Book” shelf space, already filled to the brim with all kinds of reads. Next, the incredible reclaimed wood pieces from local Alberta farms, up-cycled as art and decor to display the Woodrack Café’s homemade jewelry, antler art, and boho crafts which are all also for sale. Up-cycled wine glasses, mugs handmade in Victoria, if you like it, it’s probably for sale!
Rounding up to the main entrance and counter, I got pretty excited to see a display case full of whoopie pies and with fall-inspired flavours to boot. Who wouldn’t want a pumpkin pie, carrot cake, or chai whoopie to go along with their drink? The crazies that’s who. Their menu online also states that puddings (dark chocolate salted, rice puddings, and bread puddings) will be available, as well as treats like duffins (so help me if spellcheck doesn’t let that one through, it’s a doughnut and a muffin having a delicious baby), brookies (a brownie with a big spoon of cookie dough!), and butter tarts. The amount of cross-breeding between pastries is enough to get you wide-eyed and drooling, all thanks to in-house chef Tracy, or Mama T.
Co-owner Melissa was up front and center manning the front when I visited last Wednesday. With a background in business, the new development space was a perfect (but challenging) match for them to open up shop. Set out to launch in summer 2015, construction and tailoring the space for the kitchen became the main cause of their delay. I’d like to say though that it was all worth it, the open concept kitchen inviting and the details of the tin-tiled ceilings and wood-paneled floors all coming together to create a warm space.
Alongside the whoopie pies and assorted pastries, The Woodrack Café is serving up two kinds of brews, local Edmonton roast ACE Coffee Roasters and one all the way from the east coast, Anchored Coffee from Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. Having never tried Anchored Coffee before, I’m excited to try the lighter brew next time I’m in Woodrack! For last week’s visit, I opted for one of their espresso-based drinks instead. The Danesi Caffè (Rome, Italy) latte is always a sure way to go!
Oatmeal and soups are available for now but Woodrack hopes to add sandwiches and heartier meals as they ease their way into things. Currently their hours are Monday to Friday 7:30am to 4:30pm, with goals of extending their hours to 7pm to accommodate the after-work crowd and weekends. Baby steps for now, but I’m hopeful it will happen soon.
With only a few days tucked underneath their belts, it was a pleasant surprise to see the space full of people and from different walks of life, a concept true to what Kristy and Melissa had wanted. They hope to bring people in, and stay in, never feeling rushed and pressured to leave. Fostering a sense of community is, in all honesty, one of the measures of success for a café! By the looks of how things were going, I could tell this wasn’t a grab-and-go kind of space. You can also tell that The Woodrack Café had thought this through, there’s built-in plug-ins at the counter!
If you’ve been following the blog, you’ll know that I am always excited for a new café and quadruply (not a word, I know) as happy when it’s a local business supporting local products and art! I also love spaces where I can relax, order a drink and a bite to eat (every hour, of course!), and type away willy-nilly on my laptop. Here’s to another fantastic space and to the expansion of Edmonton’s coffee culture! Can’t wait to come back to The Woodrack Café check out their menu expansions and a new brew. I’m also crossing my fingers that there will be a duffin or brookie waiting for me. Or even a tarduffin. That’s a butter tart-muffin, obviously.The Woodrack Café
#101, 7603 109 Street