Parlour Coffee (Jason & Emilie)
SCENE asked designer-turned-coffee shop owner Nils Vik to tell us how he landed up behind the counter at Parlour Coffee (and to share his views on designing spaces in Winnipeg):
I used to hate coffee. In 2008 I had my first cup of great coffee which has turned into a passion and downright obsession. I fell in love with a long pour espresso and steamed milk in the Mile End neighbourhood of Montreal during an architecture studio trip of my undergraduate degree.
The coffee shop in question was a small space dedicated to ritual - daily conversation, daily consumption, daily interaction, informal or intimate. The lineup spilling onto the sidewalk was not an inconvenience, but almost equally as enjoyable as the cup.
I was excited to return to Winnipeg and find a similar drink, and a similar experience. Disappointment was followed by many hundreds of dollars spent on home espresso equipment and shipping fees spent on buying beans from all around the country due to the mediocre shots of espresso I encountered all over the city.
Three years after that first sip in Montreal, I left a rewarding career in design to open a coffee shop because I needed that space and needed that drink and wished to share that with Winnipeg.
The charm of cafés in larger metropolitan cities are often their small size. There is nothing charming about a 2000 square foot chain store. However, a 200 square foot coffee bar in an unexpected location is what you tell your friends and family about after you return from a trip to Europe - not about how you had a decent cup of over-roasted coffee at Starbucks in London.
In planning the development of my café, I always remained cognizant of my experiences in these smaller spaces and made it a priority to seek out an intimate environment in which to situate my business. I'm fairly certain that others agree with me because as I slide a double shot of espresso across the wooden bar I am often told that when inside our shop, they forget that they are in Winnipeg.
Nils Vik (Kyle Thomas)
This content is provided by Nils Vik. The views expressed do not express the views of CBC. CBC is not responsible for this content.