André Clément helms the espresso machine inside his new coffee parlour Café Postal on Provencher Boulevard.
Winnipeg’s French Quarter is full of charms—from the high drama of the St. Boniface Cathedral to the boutique shops dotting Provencher Boulevard to the rough-hewed wooden fort on the banks of the Red River.
But there was always something missing: A plethora of quaint, independent coffee parlours. André Clément is slowly changing that picture. He’s opening Café Postal in the historic neighbourhood just east of downtown.
“Since talking to people in the neighbourhood, I’ve realized I wasn’t the only one lamenting that we need a good coffee shop in St. Boniface,” said Clément, during a conversation just prior to opening day Saturday, October 20.
Clément, who grew up on Langevin Street just around the corner, and his fiancé Adrienne Huard are behind the new 430-square-foot, postage stamp-sized coffee stop.
It has been just 18 months since Clément, 32, and Huard, 25, spotted the sub-sidewalk level space and thought they should open a coffee shop. (In its previous incarnations, the space has been a hair salon, a hardware store and a clothing and jewelry shop.)
Café Postal will serve filter and specialty coffees made on a handmade, Marzocco espresso machine imported from Florence, Italy. Each coffee will be ground to order and use beans from Toronto-based company Te Aro. While there will only be a handful of stools at the street-facing bar, Clément hopes to create a space for conversation and coffee dates.
Given the small space, Clément has turned over food duty to Tall Grass Prairie Bakery, who will supply fresh sandwiches, salads, sweets and baked goods daily.
Meanwhile, Huard, and her two sisters, who all are baristas, will man the coffee bar.
The interior is organic-chic with reclaimed elm (harvested due to Dutch Elm disease), serving as a sidewalk level bar for guests and the main counter. The space will also double as an art gallery with rotating exhibits.
Huard herself is a fine arts graduate from the University of Manitoba and a talented photographer.