‘Nemesis Coffee’ Opens Softly In The New SFU Building Overlooking Victory Square

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I like this place already. The coffee is good, the food looks delicious, and the owners are super hands-on. It’s only been open for four days, but Nemesis is already playing host to daily line-ups and most of the 40 seats filling during the morning/noon rushes. Located at 302 W. Hastings on the western edge of Gastown, the new coffee shop has been several months in the making. Here’s what I wrote about it back in October:

The 1,500 sqft space at the foot of the new SFU building overlooking Victory Square is in the early midst of construction now, but when it’s ready in early December it’ll be a voluminous, 40 seat, coffee/food-focused cafe named after the Greek goddess who always kept an eye on arrogance and hubris. A fitting name for an especially exacting and often precious milieu, no?

I checked it out earlier this week with the ownership group – all first timers – who are pictured above (left to right: Jess Reno; James Salmon; chef David Jackman; Cole Trepanier; Albert Tang; Michele Zuber; JP Santa Maria). It sounds like they’re aiming for Nemesis to slide right into the pre-existing, bustling, and competitive coffee scene as a temple to coffee culture. They want to help foster and celebrate it not only by the cup via beans from Melbourne’s famed and award-winning St. ALi (among others, like Pilot out of Toronto and possibly Mecca from Sydney), but also through a menu inspired by the world’s diverse coffee-producing regions. Expect hot and cold comfort foods, an in-house bread and pastry program, various cold brews and some craft beers for balance.

They have yet to get the green light on beers, but beyond that the only major change is the chef. David Jackman is out of the picture (now working at Cinara) and Jacob Deacon-Evans (ex-Bishop’s, West, Wildebeest) is in charge. I popped my head in this morning for a sip and a snack. As you can see from the shots below, it looks awesome:
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There are 3 comments

  1. Blank walls, unfinished wood counters, cheap stackable chairs… what exactly about this looks awesome? It looks just like a university cafeteria, which is basically what it is.

  2. I respectfully disagree. The millwork (by Tetherstone, I believe) is pretty awesome. If you looked a little closer perhaps. Also, for the record, cheap, stackable chairs are the norm in restaurants and cafes. They’re a space efficient controllable cost, even in university cafeterias (many of which are also pretty sweet). Thanks for reading and weighing in just the same.

  3. I’d have to agree with Scout on their retort and then some. The commenter ‘Candy’ may have a penchant for shiny surfaces as opposed to natural materials honed to an understated elegance – but the millwork as with all the details are exceptionally crafted and should be given their due. Further this cafe is in no way a cafeteria and to levy such a remark because of proximity to the SFU think tank operating above smacks of bias tainting objectivity as the commenter is clearly uninformed regarding their relationship. There is nothing shorted, nor kitschy or contrived going on here, the room as well as the fare is crafted with good intentions, detailed considerations and fine execution – all without any pretentiousness but clearly enroute to if not already setting a new benchmark for what should be expected from the coffee scene in Vancouver.

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