Trend-setter Lukes chosen to operate cafe inside Calgary's New Central Library

Two rising stars in Calgary’s culinary scene have been chosen to operate a cafe in the city's new main library when it opens later this year.

Owner of Lukes Drug Mart joins forces with chef behind Model Milk for 2,000-sq.-ft venture

The New Central Library is scheduled to open in November 2018. (City of Calgary)

Two rising stars in Calgary's cultural scene have been chosen to operate a cafe in the New Central Library when it opens later this year.

Gareth Lukes, owner of the trendy Lukes Drug Mart, is teaming up with Eric Hendry, the former Model Milk chef who now runs Bar Von Der Fels, to develop a vision for the 2,000-square-foot food and beverage space inside the New Central Library in Calgary's East Village.

"We saw this as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be part of one of the city's most important cultural gathering spaces," said Lukes in a release from the Calgary Municipal Land Corporation (CMLC), the lead developer of East Village.

"Like the library itself, which is inclusive and accessible, we believe food can serve to bring families of people together to fuel discussion and stimulate learning."

Gareth Lukes, right, owner of Lukes Drug Mart, and Eric Hendry, the chef behind Model Milk and Baf Von Der Fels, are joining forces to operate a cafe inside the New Central Library. (CMLC)

Lukes is known for reinventing his family-owned pharmacies, making them places to hang out and enjoy ice cream or coffee while browsing through well-curated selections of books and vinyl records.

The cafe will be designed by Frank Architecture, a Calgary-based firm.

"The library took the time to find the right innovative and collaborative partner to join us at the New Central Library and we feel like we've hit a home run with Gareth and Eric," said Bill Ptacek, Calgary Public Library CEO.

It's probably one of the coolest spaces to open a cafe in the city these days. Calgary's new Central Library made Architectural Digest's list of the 12 most anticipated buildings of 2018. The shiny multi million dollar building in the East Village was designed by a renowned Norwegian architechture firm. It includes a performance hall, an early learning centre and a space for teens to hang out. Gareth Lukes and Eric Hendry won the bid to set up the one and only eatery in the new place. Gareth is the third generation owner of Lukes Drug Mart. Eric is the former chef of Model Milk and now runs Bar Von Der Fels. 7:42

The $245-million Central Library in Calgary's East Village is set to open Nov. 1, 2018.

In addition to the cafe, it will have 30 free meeting rooms, a 350-seat performance hall, an early learning centre for children and a space for teens with video, music and gaming stations.