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DINER: New Coffee & Chocolate Cafe “East Van Roasters” Opening Soon On Carrall St.

A 20 seat coffee and chocolate house called East Van Roasters is opening up at 319 Carrall St. in the first week of April (right next to Nelson The Seagull and across the street from Pidgin).

Owned and operated by the Portland Hotel Society, the social enterprise cafe comes to us via polymath Shelley Bolton, who we know from The Window and our recent tour of The Only, and Merri Schwartz, recent recipient of a Mayor’s Arts Award, pastry chef extraordinaire, and founder of Growing Chefs! (arguably one of the raddest non-profit organisations in Vancouver).

What can we expect? Roasted in house chocolate and coffee pairings and flights; seating on donated grand fir church pews and vintage stacking chairs reclaimed from an East Van bingo hall, winnowing and nib rooms (like Mast Brothers in Brooklyn, for example); East Van honeys from Hives For Humanity; single origin, made in-house chocolate bars; educational programs; regular cuppings and tastings; the best smell going on the Downtown Eastside (I mean, roasting coffee and chocolate…seriously); and women from the Rainier Women’s Treatment Centre staffing the joint.

Master roaster Doug Graf has a Loring Smart Roaster to play with. The same machine – with the lowest emissions of all roasters – will take care of the chocolate as well. We’ve sampled some of both already, and they’re top drawer (the 70% Madagascar chocolate in particular being a highlight). Bolton actually traveled to Hawaii to train at Madre, Honolulu’s bean-to-bar chocolate company. She’s quickly become something of a chocolate geek with very high standards.

The aim might be to supply Vancouver chocolatiers and chefs with locally-produced chocolate, cacao powder and cacao butter (like Theo in Seattle, for example, only smaller in scale), but the mandate is to create training and employment for the women of the Rainier. And that’s awesome.

You can get a feel for how East Van Roasters will look from the images above (taken by Michelle Sproule yesterday). We took the 7 shots below way back in October, when things were just getting serious.


  • East Van Roasters | Shelley Bolton
  • East Van Roasters
  • East Van Roasters
  • East Van Roasters
  • East Van Roasters
  • East Van Roasters
  • East Van Roasters


There are 6 comments

  1. And presumably, since it is a “social enterprise” cafe, we won’t be seeing Dreary Ivan Drury and his Carnegie crew picketing it, or abusing the customers, even if they are (gasp! horror!) “rich”.

  2. They hate anything with the word enterprise in it. Sounds too
    capitalistic.. 🙂

  3. CONGRATULATIONS, SHELLEY!! it looks beautiful, I can’t
    wait to get some chocolate! All your hard work has paid off!
    Thanks to your co-workers too.


  4. Looks great!! can’t wait to see it open. A new sandwich place will also open across the street next to the corner store – this area is offering a little of everything.

  5. wow, those portland hotel society people sure are smart. opening yet another for-profit business in another one of their million dollar buildings…and getting women in recovery to work for them to make it look philanthropic. what about all the other fancy cafes in the buildings they own? like that 3 dollar doughnut place….wonder if they have low income residents decorating pastries there? ugh.

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