HOME > Chowhound > Western Canada Archives >


From the horse's mouth: Caffe Artigiano opening "around Feb 1"

I wrote the public relations contact asking about updated on opening, hours, if food was availabe (CA sells some of most incredble sandwiches I've ever had in Canada), if they were selling the same beans as other locations, if they'd have a Clover brewer, and about other possible locations. Here was the reply:

"Hi John,

The Calgary location is slated to open around Feb 1st. It is at 332-6th Ave
S.W., in the Calgary downtown core. It will open from 6 am - 6 pm Monday to
Friday and 7 am to 4 pm Saturday/Sunday.

They will sell food and coffee beans (whole bean coffee menus may differ
slightly at different locations), not sure about the Clover yet.

There are plans for more locations, and we are working on a new website with
up to date info."

Open SUNDAYS? That's a shock, but good to hear.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. yay!!! you're right, they do have wonderful sandwiches.
    i walked past there the other day and it looked like it was getting close.

    the one vancouver location also had quite a nice brunch - it would be good if they do that here too.

    1 Reply
    1. re: pants

      did it look like there would be a lot of seating?

    2. Woohoo! Thanks for the update John :)

      1. if they actually do remain open on sundays, I will have a chance to go there. Not even their coffee is worth hauling my bedraggled butt into downtown traffic to pay highway robbery parking fees on weekdays. So the lucky people who work there won't have to glare at me and my noisy toddlers in line :) . My fingers are crossed for the brunch.

        1. A Sunday opening is positive news for the downtown. What's the deal with Clover brewers? I've seen one where I normally buy beans (Transcend Coffee in Edmonton) but haven't tried it yet.

          1 Reply
          1. re: egon61

            ooh transcend sounds like a class act- one of these days I'm gonna order their beans.

            A clover is a by-the-cup brewing system, which is new in itself as brewed coffee is usually done with some sort of pot or insulated coffee receptacle (think Tim Hortons) and not by the cup. The Clover entails ONE cup's worth of any beans on offer (Phil and Sebastian always has three options for example) being ground to order and then brewed in the Clover, which combines french press and vacuum aspects to put out exactly one cup of superfine coffee.

            There are other ways to do by-the-cup brewing- some places use small press pots or single ceramic drip containers, but these aren't nearly as fast (the Clover takes something like 20 seconds whereas a french press takes 4 minutes) and of course there's the "cool" factor too.

          2. I can't wait...
            Only problem now is that with excellent espresso so accessible, my coffee budget will go through the roof and my Gaggia will start feeling lonely at home.

            3 Replies
            1. re: Strider

              Strider, I use my home machine more than ever since the days when (to quote peter v) "you can have Big Mountain, or you can have Big Mountain" are long past in Calgary. I relish new places opening primarily so I can try new quality beans. 3 years ago I pretty much only used Big Mountain espresso blend at home because that was the only fresh quality microroaster available here unless I bought some Vivace at Java Jamboree, which is a pretty big trip to buy coffee. Today I use a rotation of Hines (from P&S), 49th Parallel Epic, 49th Parallel Organic, Intelligentsia Black Cat (which I buy from Communitea in Canmore- I wish somebody in Calgary used this outstanding espresso blend), Big Mountain, Mountain View Roasterie (which now supplies The House in Kensington), and sometimes a blend from Fratello when I want something dark. All of these are fresh and just waitiing for the home barista to explore.

              Artigiano uses (I think) a proprietary blend from 49th Parallel that is Artigiano branded, and I can't wait to toss that into the mix!

              1. re: John Manzo

                Do you know where I can get Big Mountain in a coffee shop? Dude has the best coffee. It doesn't get fresher than his.

                1. re: Salada

                  BM is all over town, and from what I can tell the best place to purchase is at Bumpy's. They give about equal shelf space to both BM and 49th, and the last time I bought BM espresso there it was only three days post roast- the problem is that unless you buy it there, there is no way to know how old the beans are. That said, BM does bag some outstanding product, I just wish the owner was willing to post roast dates on the bags. At Bumpy's you know the BM is fresh; at say Co-op, there is no way to know if your beans are days or months post roast. So it's worth it to pay the couple of extra bucks to get fresh Big Mountain at Bumpy's.

                  Oh, also, they pull BM at Purple Perk and unfortunately do a bad job of it (last couple of times I went at least), but when you buy beans they are from the same stock they use at the espresso bar, so that's another good option for fresh BM beans. Problem is that they don't stock nearly as much of the better stuff (like Yirgacheffe or Sidamo) at Purple Perk as they do at Bumpy's.

                  On the beans freshness issue- lots of good things happening thanks in part to the sea change ushered in by local shops with higher standards. Yesterday I did something I have not done for over a year: bought house blend beans from Good Earth. On the bag is a sell-by date and it is 3 months after they put it on the shelf (vs 14 months at Starbucks!), and it goes on the shelf a day or so after roasting. My bag said May 5, so I know it was roasted around Feb 4. It's their "blackbird espresso," roasted by Fratello, and it is very, very good. Additionally, there is a roast date on the bags at Caffe Beano- they fill paper take home bags but they can tell you when the beans were roasted.

                  A year ago, the only place in town to get coffee beans where you knew the roast date was Java Jamboree, because Vivace and Josuma dated their bags. Now you can get this info at Good Earth (again if you know the formula). P&S, Bumpy's, and the House since they've started to sell Mountain View Roasterie (which has dated its product from day 1), as well as on many of the beans sold at Community Natural Foods (eg Oso Negro- word to the wise: buy their "medium" roast blend for espresso; it's actually quite dark, and their "dark" or God forbid "very dark" is charcoal). Artigiano will only up the ante, but they're not starting a trend- they're helping it grow.

            2. UPDATE! Artigiano snagged the barista manager guy from Bumpy's, and he (the barista) tells me that Artigiano is set to open Jan 28.

              1 Reply
              1. Can anyone report whether it's open? I just had time to quickly walk through Centrium today and I didn't see it... I only saw coming soon signs for Jugo Juice and Chachis.
                Is it on the +15 level?

                3 Replies
                1. re: Strider

                  It's on street level on 3rd street and as of this am it's not yet open.

                  1. re: Strider

                    As Jigga says, it's on the street facing 3rd. There is a huge sign that says "Caffe Artigiano Opening Soon."

                    According to Zane's (barista) faceboog page we're now looking at a soft opening on Feb 4, so next Monday, but I don't work downtown and am not going there in this -32 weather so maybe it's just that he himself doesn't start until then, dunno. At any rate I heard second hand (sorry, again) from Russ at Fratello that their "hard" opening would be mid-Feb and they would soft open (I have no idea what that means specifically) for a couple of weeks- this makes a partial first day of the 4th sound likely. And of COURSE I'm out of town from the 1st to the 6th!

                    1. re: John Manzo

                      Incidentally there is no connection between Artigiano and Fratello- Russ is just a fan, as are lots of us coffeegeek types, and he's communicated with Joaquin, the manager of the Calgary shop.

                      I have to also note that there is lots of work, contracting type, happening at Java Jamboree's new "Kawa Espresso Bar" at 8 St and 14 Ave SW across the street from the Best Western. When this is done you can take a third-wave coffee tour on foot from Beano to Kawa to Bumpy's to Artigiano and fly back home.

                  2. Oh boy- you guys are SO lucky! I'm a Vancouver gal and I love, love LOVE Cafe Artigiano. It kicks serious butt. Unfotunately, I've never experienced the brunch, but my room mate SWEARS by the cranberry french toast with orange cream cheese. Have fun and enjoy!!

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: smartini

                      hey smartini- which artigiano do you usually go to? From their website it looks like the Hornsby one is the only location with a Clover but I wonder if that's changed...

                      You know, Artigiano has plans for three Calgary locations- I wonder if it's expanding elsewhere, even elsewhere in the lower mainland or maybe Victoria. Interesting story there.

                    2. Any word on whether it is open yet? I would like to stop by during my lunch hour tomorrow (should have gone by today--it was almost balmy outside).

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: aktivistin

                        Latest word over on coffeegeek says a late opening (around 10am) on Feb 14th.

                        1. re: aktivistin

                          sigh- the story right now is they're doing staff training- a friend who works DT stopped in today and was told they'd open next Tuesday, but then I read on coffeegeek that it's next Thurs the 14th at 10a. Artigiano runs a very tight ship and I'm sure they want everything perfect, but the fact that a Calgary location is not even mentioned on their website (never mind an opening date) is very frustrating. As it is. I am heading to Vancouver for a week on the 15th and I sure hope all systems are go before then- but if not, I can at least ask in Vancouver.

                          1. re: John Manzo

                            Thanks for the updates. Hopefully, the weather will be warm for a stroll down 3rd Street next week.

                        2. Okay, I am off to Vancouver on Friday for reading week, and have to be at school (as I do every week this term) tues-thurs, so I took a chance with this nice warm-er weather and walked downtown at lunch to check things out.

                          The door was unlocked and there were lots of people milling about inside- construction workers, crew training, and somebody who I gathered was the manager, so I went inside.

                          Even with the diminishing mess of construction, this is a beautiful, airy space, and it's big- I'd say double the floorspace of the starbucks across the street, with two counters; one is the espresso bar, the other is food and drip as well as bagged beans.

                          The person I took to be the "manager" was actually Artigiano's owner, Willie Mounzer, who used to be VP Operations for Earls (Artigiano was never "sold to Earls" as was too-often misreported), and he did take a few moments to chat with me. I also got to meet Joaquin, the store manager, and to both gents' credit they did give me the time of day in what is a pretty hectic environment.

                          For the coffeegeeks: They have a beautiful red La Marzocco FB80 (the same machine as Phil and Sebastian use, or used before they got their Synesso) with four groups- it's a monster. Both Bumpy's and most Good Earths have two-group machines and P&S is a three. They also have a CLOVER as well as regular Fetco brew pots for "house" (these are very well respected themselves btw). This makes for two Clovers in Calgary and we can expect a third, I think, when Kawa Espresso Bar opens on 8 St (more on that later).

                          So definitely no opening tomorrow, but Thursday does appear to be very likely. I won't be able to see it live until after I return home on the 23rd but will be in thrall of coffee in Vancouver anyway. :)

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: John Manzo

                            Sweet. Working in Calgary this summer will be more bearable with good coffee in the core. I should be only a couple of blocks from it!

                          2. Hi all,
                            I just got the official press release from Caffe Artigiano, stating that it's now open. I won't forward the whole release, just the essentials:

                            Caffè Artigiano Calgary is located in the Centrium Building at 332-6th Avenue S.W., and is open 6:00am – 6:00pm Monday to Wednesday, 6:00am – 7:00pm Thursday and Friday, 7:00am to 3:00pm on Saturdays and 8:00am - 3pm on Sundays. For more information please call 403-699-9855 or visit:


                            Let us all know if it's been worth the wait! Jennifer

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: EdiblePrairieJennifer

                              I want a lamb panino! Artigiano has the best sandwiches....

                              I gotta say, I am chuffed beyond description that any place in the core (and not even on Stephen Ave or in Chinatown) is even ATTEMPTING being open Sundays is too much to dream.

                              1. re: EdiblePrairieJennifer

                                Thanks for info. I know where I'm getting breakfast tomorrow morning! Will report back (I've never been to Caffe Artigiano in Vancouver).

                              2. I went by Caffe Artigiano this miserable morning. According to the sign on the door, it will not be open until tomorrow due to a flood (presumable in the store).

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: aktivistin

                                  ARRGH I walked DT just to have lunch there and saw the sign- did get to chat with Zane but it's looking like tomorrow. This is un-sweet torture!

                                2. Stopped in yesterday, there was a flood. The poor owner felt so bad, that he gave me a free latte. Nice Guy. He said to come back in a week

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: ConradS

                                    Why is everybody but me getting these free drink coupons?

                                    Sign on the door says "tomorrow."

                                    1. re: John Manzo

                                      Sorry, my bad. Stopped in on the way to work; it was open. The coupons were in my corporate mailbox. Maybe a 1 or 2 block radius?

                                  2. Okay, I'm back from Caffe Artigiano with a very, very big smile on my face.

                                    I got off the bus a stop early and walked to the cafe (restaurant/shop?). It was already pretty busy for the first opening day, though not nearly as busy as your typical Second Cup or Starbucks on a weekday morning. I ordered a latte and a vegetarian breakfast tortilla wrap to go.

                                    Waiting for my order, I sat at a table near the counter where the drinks come out. It seems like they are still working out some kinks in their process as a couple of orders were doubled and some espresso shots were coming out quickly, others were taking longer. The latte came out with one of those pretty heart-shaped latte art designs (excuse my ignorance of coffeehouse/barista terminology). Quite smooth, though the coffee was a teensy bit more acidic than I like. I think I prefer Phil & Sebastian's lattes, but this one was very, very close.

                                    I had to wait a while longer for the tortilla wrap as the first one ripped. Three different employees came by to apologise and explain for the wait. When the tortilla wrap came, it was accompanied with a gift card "pre-loaded with a breakfast wrap," since I had to wait longer than typical.

                                    The round-up: impeccable and friendly service, generous and fresh portions in the wrap (though a little on the pricey side at $7+change), and a more-than-decent latte. I'll be back!

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: aktivistin

                                      I made it in yesterday as well. Ordered a Nicaraguan coop coffee brewed by the Clover - lovely. Just a hint of bittersweet in the finish - very nice. I also had the roasted veggie sandwich which was very impressive. A good blend of eggplant, zucchini, asparagus and red pepper on a nicely herbed focaccia however just a touch soggy. I will chalk it up to first day jitters! They were experiencing some delays and the lineups and waits were longer than people expected. The staff did a beautiful job of handling problems/delays though and I was impressed. They all "performed" as if they had been trained to cater to the customer and they had the power to do what it takes to make the customer happy. Congrats to the staff and management for this. It is apparent the experience gained in Vancouver has been instilled here in the Calgary location. PS A lovely coincidence was meeting JM in person after all this time exchanging thoughts here and elsewhere in wwwland. I believe it was his 2nd visit that day!

                                    2. So I'm now a total (former starbucks) convert (not that starbucks has good coffee or anything, but there's not much else downtown other than second cup ...). I think I've visited Caffe Artigiano 6 times in the past week. The space is beautiful - it has a great calming vibe, which is a welcome break from the office grind. The staff is amazing - super friendly, but efficient and professional. And of course the product is the best - I tried a Malawi (sp?) from the Clover (which I'd never heard of until John Manzo wrote about it here) and loved it. Their lattes with the cane syrup are also amazing - I never knew that skim milk could be made so creamy. I guess what I'm saying is that it is nice to be introduced to a world of coffee other than starbucks. Now I'm just waiting to bump into some of the posters on this board at the cafe!

                                      2 Replies
                                      1. re: Jigga

                                        Jigga, go a little further afield and try Bumpy's if you've never been- no Clover but they make what might be the best cappos and macchiatos in the city (well Phil and Sebastian are up there too but strictly a weekend possibility).

                                        I THINK the new Kawa Espresso on 8th (read all about it at my blog) will have a Clover.

                                        There is indeed coffee aside from Starbucks or, heaven help us, Tim Hortons!

                                        1. re: John Manzo

                                          Thanks for the info - I will definitely give those other three places a try. I've heard good things about the first two on this site (probably from you!).

                                      2. This has to be the best coffee/latte anywhere in the world..
                                        I jones for this stuff and I am in San Diego..last time in Vancouver about 2 years ago..
                                        what makes it so bloody good? It's perfection and would love to know the secret!

                                        3 Replies
                                        1. re: Beach Chick

                                          laced with heroin. Who can resist!? :)

                                          1. re: yen

                                            i just had my first latte there....mmmmm.... how I've missed them!! I don't think I've had their coffee since I moved from Vancouver...the fellow from vancouver was there training - he's doing a good job, my latte was lovely!!

                                            too bad they aren't closer to my office - thank goodness I have a couple projects over on that side of the tracks :)

                                            1. re: pants

                                              That was Sammy Piccolo doing training- I had the happy opportunity to meet him and had a nice convo with a couple baristas too.

                                        2. oh, why, oh why can't they open in kamloops? i get tempted to drive to vancouver JUST to have some CA.....

                                          10 Replies
                                          1. re: dani_k

                                            We drove through Kamloops in summer 2006 and the Cowboy Coffee downtown was superb, they had a Synesso and took it very seriously- I know this is a chain but it was excellent. We talked to the owner, who was musing about ending this franchise and going indie.

                                            1. re: John Manzo

                                              yeah, cowboy downtown is a great little place. i haven't had anything as good as artigiano just yet, though. however, my husband was there recently and had a latte from the barista (josh) that was most impressive.
                                              jesse, the owner, since you've been here, has opened another place - in the hospital! it's doing well, havent had reason to go there myself yet though. forget what it's called right now...

                                              1. re: dani_k

                                                I stopped in yesterday afternoon for a lovely latte - really very good - and pretty too! I also decided to have a lemon poppyseed muffin. It was probably lovely and soft and fresh and yummy about eight hours previously when it was originally placed in the open glass case. They were very kind and immediately provided a refund, even though I was quite crabby about it. Instead of complaining that they need a new baker they should realize that AB is not BC and baked goods left on display for hours will dry out. You can probably get away with this at sea level in Vancouver but not here! Pass on the baked goods, especially in the afternoon, but no complaints about the fabulous coffee.

                                                1. re: higgika

                                                  I am headed there in about an hour. I need to go to the National Bank and then I can relax and try the coffee. What is the "must have" for caffeine?

                                                  1. re: debkassy

                                                    I'd start with a traditional cappuccino- that's what it's callled. versus a "tall" or "grande" which both use too much milk IMO.

                                                    Artigiano's drip/clover/presspot menu changes pretty frequently so if something catches your eye, have at it! I must say that I had a cup of Nicaraguan Prodecoop from the Clover in Vancouver, and I did not care for it, too much sour (they'd probably call this "mango" or "citrus," but for me it was unpleasant).

                                                    1. re: John Manzo

                                                      I went with your recommendation with the traditional cap. I enjoyed it. It wasn't so hot that I had to wait before sipping. They were have some problems with the machine and all the coffee orders were backed up. They did offer refunds for those in a hurry. I waited it out!! It was yummy. I don't like milk so if the taste of the milk came thru I would have been disappointed, but, it was a perfect blend. I bought 1/2 pound of the Ethiopian coffee as it is my favourite regional brew. Of course everything depends on terroir so I will have to see if I like this particular batch.

                                                      1. re: debkassy

                                                        also depends on roast...

                                                        I'm curious if artigiano expected the volume of business that they're getting... and along those lines, I was amazed to see the outrageous line-ups at Phil and Sebastian on Sunday. I keep saying that taste begets taste in the coffee world. Word of mouth helps too, especially seeing as how Artigiano has not advertised yet, at least no place I've seen.

                                                        1. re: John Manzo

                                                          It seems like they didn't expect to be as busy as they are - esp. on the weekends - because I noticed that they actually posted new expanded hours sometime this week (I think they're now open later on Thur and Fri evenings and longer on Sunday). All of this is ideal for those of us whose jobs don't know the bounds of M-F 9-5.

                                                  2. re: higgika

                                                    Had the same muffin in the morning and it was pretty bad then too... of course the coffee was good.

                                                  3. re: dani_k

                                                    ok. i went back to cowboy downtown kamloops and tried again. was totally impressed. far better than the last time couple times i was there.

                                              2. I'm not a coffee expert - I liked my latte and all - but Caffe Artigiano's roasted leg of lamb panini is TO DIE FOR. I've been craving it since having it for the first time Saturday.

                                                3 Replies
                                                1. re: alau2

                                                  They were out of the lamb when we went on Saturday- Andree you must have eaten the last one!

                                                  1. re: John Manzo

                                                    I would normally feel bad, John, but boy, was it good. Oh. So. Good.
                                                    Down to the very last crumb.

                                                    1. re: alau2

                                                      I got one yesterday- one thing I love about the panini at Artigiano is that they don't grill the sandwiches until the bread is all burnt and brittle and too hot- what you get at CA is almost like a perfect home-made grilled cheese in texture, warm and a little crisp. Places that do sometimes overdo their paninis- and I'm thinking Holy Grille, Bumpy's, and the worst offender, Shawarma Station, would do well to see what CA's doing right. I'm sure part of it is the bread (maybe sourdough just grills better than pita or Bumpy's ciabatta, though at home I've only found ciabatta t be perfect for the panini press), but whatever it is, I wish every sandwich place copied it.

                                                2. Finally got to one of these in Vancouver on Saturday. The latte was good, worth standing in line for. My turkey sandwich was good but not worth standing in line for. My husband had the lamb and pronounced it "good" but he wasn't jumping up and down.

                                                  I thought the blueberry muffins looked good, was hoping they were as good as the ones which will always live in my memory as the best ever from the Peter Lougheed Center cafeteria. I don't even know if the PLC even makes them any more but the Artigiano ones in the open display case at the cafe on Hornby looked the same.

                                                  Now I have to go early in Calgary to find out. It's not sounding good though.

                                                  1. so we stopped in yesterday to grab some beans for home and latte's for sitting in the park - it was great to see they were busy on Sunday afternoon, probably one of the busiest spots around there at that time, but not a very pleasant crowd, would it kill people to smile and be pleasant on such a beautiful day as it was yesterday, they were drinking delicious coffee...at least the service and product were fabulous!

                                                    1. Can I say it enough? I love this place. I actually walked past several other coffee shops all the way downtown (from Renfrew) on Saturday just to get a coffee and blueberry scone. Totally worth it - perfect coffee and excellent service (they didn't even mind that I carried my mini schnauzer inside, which is nice since I can't leave the little barker outside). I love that they're open on the weekends - and apparently so do a lot of other people since the place was packed!

                                                      1 Reply
                                                      1. re: Jigga

                                                        And they've expanded service to 5 on both days!

                                                        For anybody concerned about how Artigiano is affecting other local faves- My last visit to CFM, Phil and Sebastian had a line about 12 deep; I did not even bother trying to order at Caffe Beano on Saturday because the line-up was ridiculous; and I had lunch at Bumpy's today and it was just as crazy busy as ever (and the tuna melt panino and the macchiato were perfection). I think not only that Calgary can absorb Java Jamboree's new Kawa (1333 8 St SW- they have the rails up for their patio space now; I'm guessing an opening in mid-April) handily but heck let's open those two more Artigiano locations that Mounzer is musing about. The only places being hurt by this growth in quality are the terrible coffeehouses. Vive le cafe!

                                                      2. John Gilchrist write-up from yesterday's Herald... http://www.canada.com/calgaryherald/n...

                                                        1. I like Artigiano. I am not going to be camping out on their doorstep. But it I will definitely make an effort on a Sunday morning, when it is cold and snowy...and I can just relax and flip through a paper. I am happy that you can get something yummy to eat as well as a fantastic coffee. This is extra nice, since you can't really walk five steps from a cafe to a bakery that easily in downtown. Places like this do make me excited; Calgary is growing up more and more. It keeps things interesting! And makes for some nice photos of latte art.

                                                          1. Went there today. Latte was some of the best I've ever had. The "panino" (tuscan chicken with veggies) was quite good, except that they're a tad expensive, but are massive. The veggies were absolutely fantastic. The chicken itself was average. The bread was very good.

                                                            The place was packed, BTW. I went in just before 12pm and it was already mostly full. The lineup at 12:15 was ludicrous.

                                                            1. Wow, thanks for the heads up on this. I tried one of their sandwiches today for the first time and was delightfully surprised. I got there late, so they were out of the lamb, but I had the chicken and brie, and found it to be deee-licious!