Page 4 - SASKATOONEXPRESS - March 3-9, 2014
Citizen Café and Bakery
Young entrepreneurs open hot new coffee spot
Lexi Edmunds Saskatoon Express
askatoon’s coffee community has a new citizen. Although Citizen Café and Bakery opened just last month, it has been on Brittany Brown and her sister-in-law Nikita Brown’s radar for six years. Brittany was only 18 when she and Nikita, then 21, had the idea. Over the years, the young entrepreneurs were immersed in the coffee scene. Now at ages 24 and 27 they have opened Citizen. “The coffee shops are so lovely in this city; there’s a really great coffee culture,” Brittany Brown said. “I feel that when Caffe Sola closed in August, Saskatoon lost some of the lounge space when it comes to coffee. We wanted to have an atmosphere where people can come and get to know each other. We want that sense of community with the customers. “When we decided to open up our own coffee shop, we wanted the name to express a sense of community, so that’s where the name Citizen comes from. I met a lot of my friends working at Caffe Sola; it was my social setting. It’s really wonderful to gather that same crowd.” Nikita moved to Saskatoon from Winnipeg eight years ago. She has seen a transition in the city over the years. “I remember when I first moved here, I’d make friends who were moving to Montreal or Vancouver, bigger and better places,” she said. “Now the people who did that are coming back and taking those things they’ve experienced in the big cities and bringing them here, which has changed the city so much. It’s wonderful.”
Nikita Brown (left) Brittany Brown opened Citizen Café and Bakery 18-23rd Street East (Photo by Sandy Hutchinson) Brittany, a lifelong resident of Saskatoon, has seen similar change. “I have watched the city grow and change, and I love being a part of it,” she said. Citizen has its own unique flavour, in both atmosphere and cuisine. “We have visited coffee shops all over Europe and in the United States. Citizen is a collection of all the things we liked. I was in a coffee shop in Vancouver when I noticed they had a running water fountain, and I stored that in the back of my mind for later use,” said Nikita. “We took things we liked from other coffee shops — or things that we thought were lacking — and utilized that knowledge.” There are other quirky qualities that give the coffee shop character, such as the names of the sandwiches. “All of our sandwiches are named after revolutionary citizens,” Brittany said. “There are descriptions of why we chose the names on our website (citizencafeandbakery.ca). People seem to really enjoy them; it’s just a little added something.” Citizen has something to offer for all types of foodies. “We based the lunch menu on the idea that everyone loves a good sandwich. It doesn’t have to be hoity-toity, and it doesn’t have to have a lot of ingredients
as long as each of the ingredients are very good,” Brittany said. “We make all of our own spreads for our sandwiches; we roast all of our own chicken and spice our meat. We have top quality bacon, and we have just as many vegan and vegetarian options. “We have gluten-free wraps for everything. Soups and salads are always vegan or vegetarian. We wanted our menu to be simple.” The owners are particularly proud of their coffee and teas. “Our roasting company that we brew from is called Bean North; they’re based out of the Yukon. The espresso blend that we get is exclusive to us and only one other shop in the city,” Brittany said. “We get all of our tea from a supplier based out of Ontario. They’re called Social. They have some of the best-quality teas we have ever tried. The teas have actual pieces of fruit. Or there is a roasted almond tea which is so flavourful — it contains nuts and apples and spicy chives straight from India. People seem to be really enjoying that as well. If you’re not a coffee drinker, there is lots of tea. We even carry pop in glass bottles.” The food is European inspired. “I did a lot of travelling; I brought a lot of recipes back from Europe,” Brittany said. “We also have vegan and glutenfriendly options. If we’re going to have a
sense of community, we want everyone to be included, so we have options for everyone. People are also so excited to hear that we have almond milk for coffee. “We ensure that everything is quality and that our customers enjoy every bite, that every coffee is really good, and that our service is friendly. The service and atmosphere are our priorities.” Nikita and Brittany are two of a growing number of young entrepreneurs in Saskatoon. They cite other company owners as their inspiration. “Young entrepreneurs are opening shops all over the city. It’s fantastic. I was inspired by other business owners in the city. There’s Alchemy Clothing and Salon, Luna & Hill Clothing Company and Unreal City comic store,” said Brittany. “We just want these business owners to know how much they inspired us and really pushed us to do what we wanted to do. And also how much our customers mean to us. “Every business says that their customers mean everything to them. But honestly, because we’re a coffee shop based on community, we really mean it when we say it’s all for them. We wake up every day for them.” Citizen is located at 18 23rd Street East. You can reach the café and bakery at 306-343-1043.
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