Grinning at the Grind: a new start for a venerable Rossland institution
My coffee smiled back at me this morning. Evidently, the re-opening of the Alpine Grind has brought smiles to more than just the foam of the establishment’s lattés. On opening day last Wednesday the bustling cafe was overflowing with happy, smiling and laughing faces as the much-loved and, according to customers, “best cup of coffee in town” has returned to folk’s daily routine. New owners–locals Shelley Ackerman and John Snelgrove–re-launched the new cafe / micro bakery to rave reviews.
At first impression the cafe appears as busy and unchanged as usual. Slowing down and looking around, a month’s worth of renovations, training and getting ready to launch has seen some significant improvements to the place. The floors were sanded and buffed up, with the result being a gleaming light hardwood finish which now matches the natural log benches and chairs. A long banquet seat was added along the right hand wall as you enter the cafe with clean black seating and a funky coloured square backing. The front room area has had the couches removed and additional tables and chairs moved in.
Adding a new element to the mix, the coffee specialists have branched out into the field of baked goods. Natalie Livingstone has come on board three days a week, taking the early morning shift baking up her one-of-a-kind breads Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Among Livingstone’s offerings are this writer’s new favourite: a blueberry, white chocolate scone. For a quick snack, this unique twist on the traditional cinnamon bun is a perfectly light, sweet and puffy addition t o your morning tea or coffee
By two o’clock, the display cases next to the cash register were nearly empty of the micro-bakery treats. I took that as good indicator of the tastiness of the new fare and scooped up one of the remaining blueberry turnovers. Steaming hot when it arrived at my table the scene was a sensory overload of local cafe goodness. The rich aromas of my soy latte wafted and intermingled with the hot blueberry and fresh pastry scents making my smile just as wide as the one on the whipped foam of my cup ‘a joe.
The motivation behind John Snelgrove taking over the Grind was quite simple. “It’s not that I needed to buy this place or anything. I really just didn’t want to see it shut down, it’s such a great spot,” explained Snelgrove. “I joked with people that I’d buy it just so me and my friends could still have it to hang out in, but you know that really wasn’t all a joke.”
While all of the coffee shops in Rossland have their own flavour and style it was the bright natural lighting of the Grind that attracted Snelgrove to the operation. “There are really great windows all around on all sides and the light is just great. The only wall without windows is the one behind the kitchen where the sun doesn’t shine anyway.”
A week into the business he and his staff are still having fun at it despite the early morning starts. When asked what he’s been enjoying about it the most Snelgrove laughed and added “because I get free coffees every morning.”