When Liana Bacon decided to open a new Elgin Street cafe at the beginning of the year, she was on a hunt for a name that would pair nicely with the Night Owl Speakeasy opening a month later in the basement of the building.
It was her partner, Dan Guillemette who suggested she resurrect the Books and Beans trademark and news travelled fast.
”I didn’t realize the love and fond memories people had for the place. People started to reminisce about their first date, engagements, after-swimming-lesson snacks at the YMCA with their parents. It really caught the attention of people,” Bacon said.
After 15 years, Books and Beans had a handful of downtown locations serving different generations of people.
Bacon was one of the original owners and left to pursue a different profession in government at the time. She said in 10 years, the industry has really shifted and new trends have emerged.
“Before, it was all about the drip coffee. Eighty per cent of the business is now creamy lattes and cappuccinos. Before, you just had a phone in the cafe, whereas now it is all about social media, the website and managing it all,” she added.
Bacon and Guillemette own the building, which was built in the 1940s and once housed Laurentian Publishing (the former home of Northern Life and Sudbury.com), a mechanic shop and a sporting goods store complete with the original gun vault.
The building plays host to Dan’s architecture company, CentreLine, the Night Owl Speakeasy and the cafe.
But it doesn’t end there.
The duo are putting the finishing touches on a new musical hall in the old Knox Presbyterian Church on Larch Street set to open in October, where they will also be offering light foods and refreshments.
The reinvented Books and Beans still contains the original Green Lady poster wall image that once graced a wall in the original Books and Beans. The ‘lady’ now includes a simple, cute logo complete with books and a coffee cup.
“Lots of the old customers have been stopping by. I am great with the faces and still remember their orders but not always great with the names,” Bacon said.
The cafe is also collaborating with local businesses like Café Petit Gateau and Good Grab for delicious eats. This fall, they aim to bring a baker on board, too.
They have a hot press and Natalie Lefebvre, formerly of Motley Kitchen, is pressing sandwiches.
The bookshelf is housed with all local wares and books from Latitude 46 Publishing with the goal to become a true indie book shop. This fall they will be the location for a few book launches.
The coffee beans are sourced from Mississauga’s Barocco Coffee Company, which uses an Italian roasting style.
Bacon said her favourite features are the bagel melt, Good Grab’s orzo salad, and the hearty vegan and meat soups that are always on the menu.
“Those meals are always complete with a hot Americano in hand,” she said.
Customers are welcome to enjoy the local vibe and free wifi or take their food and drinks to go.
Books and Beans is located at 158 Elgin Street at the junction of Brady and Durham streets. For more info, visit the website, Facebook or Instagram.
Hours of operation are currently 7:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday to Friday and 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Saturdays.
The plan is to expand to Sunday hours in the fall to create a perfect study spot for students.
Anastasia Rioux is a writer in Greater Sudbury. Let’s Eat! is made possible by our Community Leaders Program.