Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Underground Café

Underground Café has just opened on 20th Street, and it adds more than one creative twist to the Riversdale neighbourhood.

First of all, the street-front façade has been torn down and replaced with a sheltered patio. Enormous vases contain sculptured plant arrangements, so now we can sit outside and bask in our all-too-brief Prairie summer.

Secondly, Underground Café isn’t just one business – it’s two. The coffee shop fills the front of the space, while Beaumont Film & Record is at the back. They’re two friends, supporting each other with complimentary businesses.

Finally, Underground Café has imported a taste of Edmonton. They are the first coffee shop outside of Edmonton to serve Transcend coffee.

Saskatoon’s Coffee Culture
Dallyn Guenther, Underground Café's owner and barista, grew up in Saskatchewan but moved to Australia and New Zealand where he became immersed in the local coffee culture. “After Italy, I figure New Zealand has the best coffee culture,” he says.

But Saskatchewan is evolving, and Dallyn decided to return to his roots and contribute to Saskatoon’s growing coffee culture. He’s delighted that Collective Coffee is just a few blocks away and hopes that the two businesses can work together to bring coffee drinkers to Riversdale.

Rock Star Specialties
In addition to coffee in all its various forms, Underground Café offers a number of specialty drinks named after rock stars. Otis Redding is vanilla gelato and espresso, while Joan Jett contains melted cinnamon hearts, espresso and steamed milk.

But if you’re not a coffee drinker, don’t despair. Dallyn will soon be serving Steeps tea (out of Calgary).

I had an Italian soda and it was the best I’ve ever had. Dallyn uses unsweetened SlushPuppie flavouring with just a touch of vanilla syrup for sweetness, and it is so good!

Dallyn has installed a long bar counter as he hopes to expand into soups and salads for lunch.

Neighbourhood Centre 
Underground Café is next door to Village Guitar & Amp and Paved Arts. So, in addition to their regular hours, the coffee shop will be open whenever there are events at either location.

Beaumont Film & Record is run by Scott Gowen. Shelves of vinyl records line one wall, and there is a collection of CDs, cassettes, DVDs and Blu-Ray.

Dallyn plans to host a games night with a tournament ladder on Thursday evenings. Both Scott and Dallyn are excited about the board game, Settlers of Catan. “It’s a strategy game for people who don’t like strategy,” Scott explains.

Location & Hours
Underground Café is located at 430 20th Street West (between Avenues D and E).

They are open from 7 am to 6 pm from Tuesday to Sunday (closed Monday) and will stay open late on Thursday evenings.

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