Thursday, October 15, 2009
Block 1912 "B"
In addition to great food and drink, Block 1912 on Whyte Ave in Edmonton, Alberta is rich with stories from the community. There are people who have frequented this cafe for years. Peter Pepin, owner of Block 1912, shared a number of stories with us as he had coffee with us at our table.
One of the stories was about a set of Italian lounge chairs that are in the cafe. Now it is important first off to understand that absolutely nothing in the cafe matches. The tables don't match, the sofas don't match, the chairs don't match and the cutlery doesn't match. That is all part of the eclectic charm of this location. All the furniture is recycled from other places. So purchasing a matching set of Italian chairs (no, they don't have an accent....I asked!), was somewhat of a different venture. Peter's wife and business partner, Komala, was dealing with the furniture sales person. These chairs were very expensive. The sales person was not wanting to alter the price whatsoever....that is, until Komala mentioned that they own Block 1912. "Block 1912! You own Block 1912?! I met my wife at Block 1912!" Suddenly the chairs were not so expensive at all. This speaks to how this cafe touches the hearts of many people.
Whether you are there for a designer coffee with lunch, or simply a scone and tea, this place becomes a part of you. When I entered it I could feel the spirit of this place, warm and gentle, inviting me in. The delicious food is often prepared on a 2 burner stove in a very small kitchen, and the baking is done on another level in this fabulous heritage building.
The art that is on the walls is by local artists who also frequent the establishment. When the art is sold, the money goes to the artists to help support them and the local community. There is a violin player and a guitar player who each will come in, sit down and play music. At this point the music on the sound system is turned off so that everyone can enjoy the live performance. Block 1912 is a place of gathering with friends and family, but it is also a place that has become interwoven with the entire community. This may be why when there were riots on Whyte Ave, Block 1912 was the only place that did not get vandalized. Believe me, if I were a rioter, I would not stand for anyone messing with my favorite coffee shop!