Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Drift Sidewalk Cafe, Riversdale

Drift Sidewalk Café, next door to Escape Sports on the corner of 19th Street and Avenue A, is warm and filled with sunshine and green plants.

Amy Holowach says she used to be a massage therapist, but the opportunity came up to open a café and she and her family grabbed the idea and ran with it.

“Our family loves travelling and the west coast. We love the river and we wanted to create an atmosphere that would complement Escape Sports,” explains Amy as I admire the wood panelling on the roof, the mosaic decorations and the large tropical plants.

The family did a lot of the work themselves with help from Worldsson Construction. Amy created the mosaics, and she and her friends plastered the walls with Saskatchewan kaolin clay and sand from Gabriel Dumont Park.

The tables are made of bamboo, and there are pictures in the washrooms of paddleboarders on the river.

Crèpes, paninis and sandwiches are the main items on the menu, but there are also munchies and a variety of hot drink and dessert options.

“We’re intrigued by street food and food trucks,” Amy says, “so this is our version of an indoor food truck. In summer, all the windows and doors will be open and we’ll have lots of outdoor seating – a very inside/outside feel.”

Amy says that her grandmother had a big influence on the menu. “My grandma made the best crèpes,” Amy says. “My grandparents owned a motel in Kerrobert, and my childhood memories are all about Kerrobert and crèpes.”

Shelley (my sister in law) and I shared a Kerrobert crèpe with strawberry-rhubarb filling, candied ginger and whipped topping, and it was delicious with lots of real fruit flavour. The candied ginger is house-made, and it packs a punch.

All the food is made from scratch and it’s designed to be wholesome cooking with little indulgences, striking a balance between healthy and excessive. There are lots of vegetarian options. In addition, Amy says that everything on the menu can be modified to your preference (e.g. remove the meat, extra whipped cream).

Drift Sidewalk Café supports its community and has lots of local suppliers. The bread and croissants are from The Night Oven Bakery, the sprouts are from Ecobain Gardens and Wally’s Urban Market Garden, and Northwood Farm will be supplying the vegetables in the summer.

Future Plans
Amy is full of plans for the future. They will be adding extra seating and opening up the ground-floor space so that you can grab a coffee and go next door to Escape Sports.

There will be a take-out window for those who want to picnic by the river. Escape Sports offers paddleboard excursions, so Drift will be offering waterproof packed lunches to take with you as you paddle down river.

We can look forward to an upstairs tapas lounge and a roof-top patio this summer, and Amy has plans for a small garden with herbs and tomatoes for the restaurant.

Ice pops will be available in-house or from Drift’s bicycle cart.

Drift Sidewalk Café is a welcoming addition to Riversdale and the riverfront area. I’ll be heading back for a quiet drink or a lunchtime panini. And I’ll definitely be buying more Power Stacks. The combination of rich, moist chocolate flavour and crunchy, healthy ingredients is addictive.

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