We’re in the last, sweaty gasps of our Build-Outs of Summer series…and what a summer it has been! We’ve explored build-outs in cities like Philadelphia, Sitka, Haddon Township, and Mashpee, just to name a few! As the air begins to pick up that crisp Canadian chill, it’s only natural that we turn our sights to our neighbours to the north, specifically under the big skies of Alberta, where specialty coffee’s starting to flow like crude oil. Today we look at Calgary’s deVille Coffee, whose downtown presence has just multiplied into a second cafe in the 1964-modern Petex building. Join us as we hop the C-train on down and find out more about this new kid on the block and their just-completed buildout.
As told to Sprudge by Paul Brassard.
Can you tell us more about yourself, your company, and Calgary coffee?
I worked as a longtime restaurant manager, fine dining server, turned office suit… couldn’t handle it, so I created deVille seven years ago with a good-friend-turned-business partner Mark Nolan. deVille is focused on service rather than any other product. We just happen to have awesome Intelligentsia coffee, fresh baked pastries and chef inspired sandwiches. Calgary coffee is a pretty tough place. Not many independents (except for us, Phil & Sebastian, Caffe Rosso, Kawa, etc) and even though there is world-quality coffee going on here, we still battle daily for recognition against the multinational giants.
Can you tell us a bit about your new space?
We love our new space. We’ve used some of our favourite fixture and furniture designers (Charles & Ray Eames, George Nelson) and added custom walnut pieces milled locally to make our bar the center piece of the café. We soften the space with hand-blocked Farrow and Ball wallpaper and custom drapes.
What’s your approach to coffee?
Coffee in downtown Calgary has to be fast. No messing with people’s time here… or they aren’t coming back. We try to remain as approachable as possible because it’s about getting people to drink something handmade versus pushing a button. We don’t want to alienate anyone. We dial and weigh all shots when we’re slow, and pull together up to 4 people on shots and milk when we’re lined up out the door. We sell a ton of drip coffee so we make use of the Fetco vs. pour-over.
Any machines, coffees, special equipment lined up?