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Jul 26, 2009 05:06 PM

New Caffe Artigiano open (Cgy)

Calgary's second Caffe Artigiano opened a couple of weeks ago in the Shell Centre at 4 Ave and 3 St SW; there is an outside entrance to the cafe on the NE corner of the building which is actually at 3/3 SW. Today, the only way to access it was from this outside entrance which is not yet signed and this may account for why, despite 12,000 people at the Folk Fest a few minutes walk away at Prince's Island Park, I was one of only three customers there today around 4pm while the original location 2 blocks south was relatively packed.

This new location does not have a clover but otherwise the menu is the same. I prefer it to the original because even though the first one is in the glorious Centrium building it is always too hot in there in all seasons; this new location is not as pretty but it has both excellent airflow and palpable AC. Hours at both locations are the same incl 8-5 Sundays, so check it out.

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  1. that's so close to the first location - why didn't they spread out a touch?

    13 Replies
    1. re: pants

      I guess it's the same approach as they had in Vancouver- helps to share resources and such. Also it is, like centrium, across the street from a Starbucks (the one at the Westin).

      1. re: John Manzo

        Personally, I am wondering if this concept would work in the 'burbs.
        Judging by type of clients at PS, if one would add some comfortable decor and offer the same premium product, it just may work?

        What else have we got to do all day out here? Might as well sit in a coffee house.

        1. re: worldwidestuff

          The Starbucks near my house are always busy(Panorama and Coventry)... and there's maybe 6 tables in each if that? If an Artigiano or P&S opened out here and had more seating I'm sure they'd kill Starbuck's monopoly.

          1. re: maplesugar

            P&S is opening a shop in the new wing (the luxe one) at Chinook Centre- so there's hope. There is a brand new place in the deep south called Caffe Crema, 2525 Bridal Crest Way SE, that has a Slayer (this is the new ultra traditional espresso machine designed by Fratello and some of the former employees of La Marzocco and Synesso in Seattle) and I think they're using Fratello's competition espresso and microlot beans, just like the new Insomnia Cafe downtown- all of which means this is a class act and is definitely suburbs; to the far west is the A Ladybug Cafe in Aspen Stone or whatever the subdivision is called; they use the same JJ Bean coffees that Bumpy's sources and make espresso on a La Marzocco GB5. So you have some excellent options to the far south and far west- and of course Java Jamboree is in Cochrane. Then there's Good Earth expanding all over the city. Good coffee times in and out of the inner city areas.

            1. re: John Manzo

              That's good news about P&S, from what I understand there are some other retailers moving in to that expansion that are new to Calgary. I should make more of an effort to get to the Good Earth that opened off Symons Valley Rd but the construction at Country Hills Blvd & Beddtington Tr has made trips that way less than desirable. Deep south would be a day trip for me... same goes with the newer communities on the western edge of the city. Like I said elsewhere... if I can make a trip to good coffee coincide with a stop at Blush Lane etc ok, but I'm trying to be more careful these days in terms of mileage... so more often than not I pick up beans at Beano or Artigiano when I can and do my own thing.

              There is something to be said for the ritual of going for coffee however. The move to Sylvan Lake will mean I can walk to a lot more places... I'm hopeful one of those is a good coffee place (and as far as I can tell the town is Starbucks free).

              1. re: maplesugar

                Any rumours of expansion of any of these excellent coffee spots ino the Hillhurst/Kensington neighbourhood? Kensington is still somewhat of a mediocre coffee neighbourhood.

            2. re: maplesugar

              Disclaimer: I actually like Starbucks and was underwhelmed by an Americano at Artigiano.

              I don't agree that Artigiano could compete with Starbucks. They don't have drip coffee, just ultra expensive french press coffee you have to wait for. And I'm not a fan of the Starbucks ambiance (looks like it belongs in an airport or corporate lobby), but IMO Artigiano is really no better.

              1. re: 23skidoo

                Artigiano most definitely has drip. The new location doesn't have a clover but has drip w/ Fetco brewers, French press and of course espresso-based drinks.

                If you like Starbucks, which is a very dark roast for all brewing methods, that's fine, nothing wrong with that, but you're probably going to find the medium roasts they use for espresso/drip/press at Artigiano to be unsatisfactory.

                As far as competing with Starbucks though? Look at the crowd at the Centrium Artigiano and compare with the crowd across the street at the Starbucks at 404 6th Ave. No contest- Artigiano has lineups out the door, especially on openings.

                1. re: John Manzo

                  On a large scale basis, obviously Artigiano cannot compete with Starbucks. But if you look at how Starbucks as a company is doing, you'll see that other multinational corporations that have the type of reach and distribution as Starbucks have slowly started to eat into their market shares. You'll be surprised as to which ones too: the emergence of a revamped McDonald's coffee program, even Dunkin' Donuts to some extent have all bit off a bit of Starbucks revenue.

                  On the local side though, Artigiano can most definitely compete with Starbucks. And haven't they shown it already? Opening stores boldly across from other Starbucks, and surviving (or even thriving) already shows to me they can compete in the truest definition of the word. On a quality scale, there's hardly any comparison between what you can get at Starbucks compared to what you can get at Artigiano.

                  And Starbucks realizes this too. They have realized that the independents and the high quality, coffee focussed characteristic that they embody may be what consumers are looking for. Thus they have started to open up a few concept shops called 15th Avenue Coffee & Tea (owned by Starbucks), which are completely different in store design and equipment as to regular Starbucks, more of an independent feel, without push button fully auto machines and trying to recreate what alot of the independents (such as Artigiano) have been doing for years.

                  1. re: Hoj

                    Hoj- do you know if they're using Sbux beans at these new concept stores? FWIW I went to the original Pike Place Sbux in Seattle in May and got a "doppio" made on a Linea- and it was horrible. I also had an Ethiopian of some description made on a CLOVER at another Sbux nearby (not the original) and I have to say that it was the best-tasting coffee, to my taste, that i've ever had on a Clover!

                    1. re: John Manzo

                      John, the 15th Avenue concept store uses all Starbucks beans. It is owned and operated by Starbucks, but differentiated in order to revamp and individualize the store concept.

                      Sorry to hear about your coffees from Pike Place. I think it goes to show that often, equipment is not the limiting factor for making good coffee, it is most definitely down to the beans and the barista. Good equipment does NOT equal good coffee. Which Ethiopian did you have? Slightly surprised to hear how good it was but that's always a positive sign, I suppose.

                  2. re: John Manzo

                    I'll have to go back and try the drip. I was at the original 3rd St SW location (Centrium?) shortly after it opened, and they told me they didn't offer drip, only $6 french press and espresso-based drinks.

                    1. re: 23skidoo

                      DH refuses to py a premium for caffeine so I always order drip coffee for him... including at Artigiano. I can't remember how long after opening I was at the 1st Calgary location but afaik they've very nearly always had drip coffee there.