Some new smiling faces will now greet those entering one of Lacombe’s cherished coffee shops.
Sarah and Alastair Starke officially took over as the new owners of Kavaccino’s on Friday, March 15, following Kay and Charlie Jeong’s decision to put the business up for sale and retire after 13 years.
While the two both hail from Calgary, owning and operating Kavaccino’s is the realization of a dream.
“Running a café restaurant, a cozy place like this that is part of the neighbourhood has always been a passion project for us,” said Alastair. “We realized we weren’t getting any closer to it in Calgary.”
The couple, however, aren’t without local connections. Alastair’s grandparents have lived in Lacombe for many years, and he said he spent many summers visiting the community. In fact, it’s because of his grandmother, who needed some extra help while recovering from surgery, they discovered the place was available.
His mother, in town to help her, went for coffee with a high school friend at Kavaccino’s and learned the place was up for sale and let Alastair and Sarah know. They checked it out, and three months later, the place is officially theirs.
“We never thought we’d be able to afford it,” Sarah said. “Everything sort of just fit together.”
Kavaccino’s has been running for over 23 years in the community and is nestled on 51st St., right next door to the Michener House Museum. It’s outlasted numerous other downtown businesses, and weathered the difficult economic climate in recent years, which the Starkes already attribute to a strong group of loyal returning customers – some of which they’ve already met.
As such, they promise they’re not going to be taking anyone’s favourite drink or beverage off the menu or making any major changes. They are, however, cooking up a few sweet and delicious ideas they hope the community will enjoy.
“We’re going to start bringing in some pastries and stuff that I know how to make. In April, I’m going to start with chocolate croissants and some other little tarts and pastries,” said Sarah. “I’ve noticed there’s not a lot of brunch options, so we need some sweet brunch options – we’ll get some crepes, French toast.”
Alastair is a former produce manager, while Sarah is a Red Seal certified chef with 12 years of experience in the industry at various Calgary restaurants including Big T’s Smokehouse. Both of them say they have a passion for food they want to share with the community.
“We’ve always wanted to open a place just like this where it’s at the heart of the community,” said Alastair. “If you told me 10 years ago I was going to end up in Lacombe, I would have been surprised, but I would not have been disappointed.
“Everyone’s been extraordinarily kind and welcoming…It’s been really fun and neat to walk around town and hear people say ‘did you hear Kavaccino’s has new owners?’ It’s amazing how engaged the community is and we’re really glad to be a part of that.”
They intend to continue Kavaccino’s legacy of supporting various groups, organizations and events in Lacombe, as well as provide a space for meetings, small intimate music events and get-togethers.
Some small renovations and upgrades to the building are also in the works in the near future, but no drastic changes are planned.
They’ve also moved the website to www.kavaccinos.ca, where catering options are available, as well as the ability to order custom cakes or baskets of cookies and other baked goodies.
In April, they’ll transition the shop to summer hours, which will see Kavaccino’s stay open until 9 p.m.