Introducing the Glebe Community Café (gcCafé)

Wilson, Sarah gcCafe
Photo: courtesy of GNAG

by Sarah Wilson

Soon there will be a new café opening on our doorstep at the Glebe Community Centre (GCC), called the Glebe Community Café, or gcCafé. The grand opening will take place on Saturday, October 1, and you’re invited!

The gcCafé has been born out of a vision to develop a food and beverage service to cater to the diverse and varied needs of our entire community from start to finish. From healthy grab-and-go breakfasts and lunches for busy parents, early-riser fitness clients and local teens too often tempted by fast food, to afternoon tea and takeaway nutritious family meals, the gcCafé truly has a mandate to serve and support us all.

That vision and aspiration runs further still. The new gcCafé will be a not-for-profit business run by the Glebe Neighbourhood Activities Group (GNAG), with 100 per cent of profits going towards community centre improvements and subsidized programming.

The gcCafé will be managed and led by resident and seasoned chef Stephanie Stewart, well known for preparing food and training staff for GNAG’s childcare programs, culinary arts programs and adult special events. With Stephanie’s ability to nurture, grow and mentor talent, the gcCafé will be looking to create job opportunities for young people early in their careers, employment-challenged individuals and new immigrants, by providing valuable work experience and job opportunities that they may find hard to secure elsewhere.

For those of you, like me, who were loyal patrons of the much loved and missed The Pantry, you will be glad to know that the gcCafé will be continuing some of the former proprietor’s traditions in respect of the 40-year contribution The Pantry made to our community. The café will offer a quiet, adult-oriented service of hot and healthy meals daily between 12:30 and 3:30 p.m., with many vegetarian and vegan options and a variety of fine coffees, teas and desserts to choose from.

All food will be made fresh daily from whole food and healthy ingredients from locally sourced suppliers wherever possible. The menu will range from healthy muffins and seedy energy bites, to coffee, tea, smoothies and fresh juices. The café will also serve delicious and healthy mains such as Moroccan-spiced chicken, lentil and local sausage bake, roasted fennel and tomato crumble, aubergine green curry and roasted parsnip and caramel onion soup.

My mouth is watering as I type and I haven’t even mentioned the morning salad bowl, including quinoa, sweet corn, salsa and green onion topped with a fried egg, or the frittata sandwich, falafel burger, strawberry and seeds salad with lemon poppy seed dressing, the BLT wrap with local cured bacon… I’m only skimming the surface of the delightful menu, but hopefully you get the picture.

Although the gcCafé space will be renovated and refreshed, it will maintain a welcoming and comfortable atmosphere; a home-away-from-home feel. The space will also be re-designed as a multi-purpose space that can also be rented by the community and used as a drop-in room and for common room programming.

The new café will endeavour to provide high quality foods while keeping prices affordable for all in our community. You will be able to pay with convenient credit and debit cards, and through family accounts for GCC users.

This truly is a café that aspires to serve and nourish all in our community. I urge you to come visit the new gcCafé when it opens its doors on October 1 and to use and support this commendable venture.

GNAG was awarded the contract for the gcCafé by the City of Ottawa real estate division after competing in an open bidding process following the retirement of The Pantry proprietor, Carolyn Best. Stay tuned for the September issue of the Glebe Report for your invitation to the grand opening of the gcCafé on October 1, 2016.

 Sarah Wilson is a volunteer GNAG Board member, and regular user of the Glebe Community Centre.

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