Much has been said about Bridgehead (an Ottawa fair trade coffee chain) coming to the Hintonburg neighbourhood, corner of Wellington and Fairmont. The upcoming coffee house is slated to take over the space that was originally being renovated by Dish Catering. Hintonburg residents will be caffeinated!
All the while, a construction team worked feverishly to complete what turns out to be extensive modifications to the former location of the Levonian Shirt Maker shop across the street (1015 Wellington Street W).
The project, AlphaSoul Cafe.
One of AlphaSoul’s owners, Maxine (@1maxblack) was at last year’s Taste of Wellington West event, handing out cards and lime melt-aways, a peek at what was to come. I caught up with her again this past winter at the inaugural Celebrity Chefs Event at the National Arts Centre (NAC).
She, on her way out, and me, waiting to return Executive Chef Michael Blackie his iPad, we chatted a bit in the lobby. AlphaSoul was planned to be different than Bridgehead, a coffee house with a twist. Max intended it to be fully licensed. AlphaSoul would showcase local artists and host live music, opening late. It would have a complete kitchen, serving more than bakery. Intrigued, I have been following AlphaSoul’s coming into being ever since, both by blog and Facebook.
Yesterday, AlphaSoul opened its doors.
[Photo taken by Annie Hillis, Executive Director of the Wellington West Business Improvement Association (BIA), and used by permission of the Wellington West BIA.]
Max, again recognizing me, greeted me warmly when I stumbled into AlphaSoul, dripping wet from the rain. She pointed me to what little remains of the original building, barely two walls. Renovations even tore into the foundation. Her staff proudly pointed me to the unisex washrooms, each decorated very differently. One features a chandelier.
Save for remnant walls, which blend into the ostensibly new building, AlphaSoul doesn’t betray any of its textile ancestry.
The floors, faux corrugated metal. The walls, painted yellow. Dark stained bistro tables seat purple upholstered chairs, framed in black. Cappuccino mugs sat at the center of each table with fresh cut flowers.
AlphaSoul is a coffee house by day, offering in-house baked muffins, cupcakes, and croissants. It also serves sandwiches (pulled pork, grilled egg plant, smoked salmon, ham and smoked Gouda with honey mustard, and roast beef) made with local Art-Is-In Bakery bread ($5.50/each) and soups ($4.50/bowl). It is a French bistro in the evening with planned small plates. It is a wine bar at night, offering beer by the pint ($6/each) and wine by the glass (from $7 for a Blu Giovello Pinot Grigio to $11 for a Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc). Of note, every wine served by bottle is also offered by glass.
Here’s a glimpse at the newly opened establishment.
Not overly sweet, I rather enjoyed my streusel topped coffee cake cupcake with its light crumb. My coffee was as good as could be expected given new staff and new equipment. Total: $4.00 (before taxes or tip)
Things to come:
- Max is looking into purchasing a panini press to press the sandwiches already served.
- The croissants are a work in progress, good but not perfected.
- Kichesippi was chosen in lieu of Beau’s, AlphaSoul serving both Natural Blonde and newly launched 1855.
- Though, a local micro-brew night is being considered…
My first impression, AlphaSoul is going to make a welcomed addition to Hintonburg. I think it will establish its own community-oriented identity, just as the Umi Cafe (610 Somerset Street W.) has in Chinatown.
Already, AlphaSoul is proudly hosting a community-oriented event, Hintonburg Writers Night, this Thursday (April 28, 2011) from 7:30 pm to 9:00 pm.