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MAHTAY CAFÉ Want to drink mate? Or should you say, “Unos Mate?” Be careful, the cup of tea comes with an extensive set of rules to follow while drinking, such as don’t touch the straw, never complain and certainly don’t take too long to drink your share. The Mahtay Café and Lounge in St. Catharines, Ont., was named after the South American tea yerba mate; a tea that symbolizes community and friendship. The Mahtay Café and Lounge opened its doors to the downtown core three years ago. “It was always a romance in cafés and finally opportunity met circumstance and that is how it all started,” recalls Chris Lowes, owner and operator of the café. Lowe recalls the harmonious occasion when he selected his coffee roaster. “When you open up a coffee shop you get to taste a bunch of different coffees from a bunch of different roasters. It was the perfect mix for us,” explains Lowes. Lowes definitely made the right choice with his selection of the Union Island Coffee Roaster. “Our roaster was just named coffee roaster of the year by Roast Magazine,” explains Lowes. “It’s the crème de la crème of coffee roasters.” The Café offers at least three roasts at one time that vary from fair trade, direct trade or organic. “We are quite proud of our coffee,” states Lowes. The Mahtay Café is also proud of their commitment to promoting Niagara’s artists and community groups. “It’s our mandate to never say no,” states Lowes. In order to fulfill their promise of opening their doors to community groups, last August Lowes expanded the café to include a community room where events can be held while others continue to enjoy the café atmosphere. “We host a variety of events from music, poetry, book signings, plays, readings, Twilight Jazz Series, open mic and local groups who like to use our facility for their meetings,” says Lowes. To further keep their feet planted in the community, 50 paintings from local artists, that change monthly, hang on display in the art gallery. Being a downtown location allows the Café to serve a diverse array of customers. “The people that cross our threshold come from different backgrounds. We serve office workers, lawyers, Brock University professors and students,” says Lowes. Free Wi-Fi, bookshelves filled with an eclectic assortment of books and a variety of board games are also available to customers of the café to use at their leisure, further adding to the homey experience. Fresh ingredients and a homemade touch is what makes Mahtay Café stand out. “We often get people phoning in to ask us what the soup of the day is,” laughs Lowes. “We make all of our soups from scratch.” The menu has something to appeal to every palate, and includes a variety of vegan and gluten free options. In fact, the staff is happy to make any sandwich vegan or gluten free upon request. The secret to the great taste is the wholesome ingredients such as apple jam and roasted chicken. “The Chicken Apple Club and Quinoa Salad are our most popular menu items,” says Lowes. Unos Mate? The drink of the Gods is a perfect fit for the namesake of the Mahtay Café. The Yerba Mate is designed to strengthen the immune system and increase endurance. Whether you drink the tea or not, you will most definitely be rejuvenated and feel a boost of energy after your visit to the Mahtay Café and Lounge. For more information visit mahtay.ca

Profile for TodayMagazine

Business - Winter 2015  

Business - Winter 2015