I walked in the side entrance, past the rack of handmade tumblers. Then around the corner, along the beautiful wood-faced counter, and up to Kristy, who smiled and met me with, "Oh hi, you're Katie!" (cue my probably shocked face and the internal thoughts of 'oh man, she's read my blog!')
Welcome to The Woodrack Café.
The sounds of conversations and smells of coffee lingered. I sat down with my drink and notebook at a round wooden table and tried to take the whole place in, contemplating how I could describe the atmosphere using actual words. I was quickly joined by Kristy, who, along with co-owner Melissa, is behind the creation of this seriously gorgeous establishment. We struck up a conversation about some of the business details and the beauty that surrounded us, which I'm honored to get to share with you.
When was The Woodrack Café opened, and what gave you the idea to create it?
We've been here about 4 months. We opened September 28th!
The idea for all of this was born out of a girls' weekend at Abraham Lake. Once we had decided we were really going to give this idea a go, we came back, made a plan, found a location, and gave notice at our current jobs. Of course the planned project timeline is never quite the actual project timeline, but it's been great.
Is there significance to the name?
We thought about something related to the name Betty, which is a family name for both of us. Then Melissa sent me a photo of the kayaks from our trip with wood stacked up on the racks. I suggested "woodrack," and it really fit.
Where is all of this beautiful wood and decor from?
The barn wood on the front of the counter as well and the hanging windows were donated from farms near Melissa's family's farm in Athabasca. The rest of the decor was made by us. We collected it all over time and it came together really well. I made the top of this table we're sitting at - you can see some of the sawdust in the lacquer on this one. We made the water tumbler glasses ourselves too, using old bottles, a Dremel, and by etching our logo into the glass. We want this space to really feel like us, and like we've got a hand in all of it.
What's your favorite menu item?
Hmm, probably the whoopie pies. We get to change those flavors up all the time and do something unique to us. The coffee cake and banana bread are also each of our grandma's recipes. We do all the baking and make all of the items in house, except for the croissants. We wanted those to taste like they came straight from France.
What's your favorite part about owning The Woodrack Café?
It feels great to walk into a space you love every day. The customers are awesome. The rest of the building is all medical offices so we thought that might make up a large part of the visitors but it's mostly local community members who come in. It feels like walking into a big hug from the community.
Do yourself a favour, and make a plan to take a weekday trip down 109th street to visit The Woodrack Café for yourself. It's stunning inside, and you'll find yourself gazing around at all of the furnishings that are really impossible to describe in a blog post. Say hi to Kristy and Melissa, and give this new Edmonton café a big dose of love. Have a whoopie pie (I brought one home to my family but may have eaten it along the way) or one of their other delicious treats, and warm yourself up with a mug of coffee. Then, pass the word along or invite a friend to come back with you next time. I know I'll be doing just that.
You can also find The Woodrack Café any of the following places:
The hugest of thank yous to Kristy and Melissa for inviting me into your space and your story. I can't wait to see you again soon.
P.S. Families and couples...this would be a beautiful stop along an adventurous photo session!
A Little Local Love is a blog series highlighting some of the most unique establishments I can manage to find in the Edmonton area. Follow along as I bring you new ideas for adventures, date nights, gifts, and spending time with your friends and family.
Have a suggestion for a business feature? Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I love hearing of new faces and places!