It is not every day that Starbucks gets run out of town… OK not exactly out of town. Nutmeg is pretty certain that their lease on 3rd Street SW in Calgary was up and it may have been an under-performing location, so they have closed up shop and Subway is going in. Caffe Artigiano has certainly not missed the competition. On a recent Wednesday afternoon Nutmeg was a bit early for her meeting with Cilantro, so popped in for a latte. Their signature latte is the Spanish Latte with a touch of condensed milk – heaven in a cup! At 2:30pm there was barely a seat to be had in the place and a line up at least 20 deep. These guys have perfected the system, you order and pay as normal at the till and your order comes up on a print out (in order) at the barista end. Unlike Starbucks: no yelling, no call backs, no cups out of order – do you honestly care what the person ahead of you in line is ordering?
The original Caffe Artigiano opened in Vancouver at Pender and Thurlow in 2000. There are now 14 locations, 12 in Vancouver and 2 in Calgary. They really pride themselves on the quality of the end result and in fact some of their baristas have even reached the World Barista Championship 2009 Finalists. This chain has a pretty aggressive expansion plan, Nutmeg hopes that they find the right balance of growth and consistent quality.
They have a decent selection of food. They have a good selection of breakfast pastries and sandwiches for lunch. Nutmeg will attest that the breakfast wrap is pretty good. However, the coffee is the real reason to go. It is smooth, the get the milk just right and even do nice designs on the top. Nutmeg’s latte had a heart on in…not sure what the lady barista was trying to say.
If you have not tried it – what are you waiting for?