Unless you live in the neighbourhood, or are visiting Vernon Barford School right across the road, chances are you wouldn’t stumble across Square 1 Coffee. It’s tucked away in an unassuming strip mall in Aspen Gardens, on the southwest side of the city – and it’s well worth visiting. The space that coffee-loving duo Jonathon and Brandy Brozny have created is eclectic and comforting, the perfect spot to linger over a cup of coffee with friends.
For years, Jonathon worked in financial services while Brandy was a stay-at-home mom to their six children. The two always dreamt of opening a coffee shop one day. “About a year ago, we realized it was a good time in our life to start looking into that venture, so we drove out to Victoria,” Brandy says. They visited several small roasters in the area and, upon returning, began to experiment with selling cold brew coffee at the South West Edmonton Farmers’ Market.
They also began looking at potential locations for a storefront, and it was a space close to home that they fell in love with. Originally, the coffee shop was occupied by a Greek restaurant, complete with pergolas and lattice work. The duo gutted the space, focusing in particular on reusing and repurposing whatever they were able to. A large table near the counter, for example, was crafted from floorboards originally in the space. According to Brandy, members of the community have consistently been stopping by Square 1 Coffee to show their support. “The community here has nothing [similar] , they needed something,” she says. When it came time to create a menu, the primary focus was on serving fantastic coffee. “We tried probably 20 different craft roasters from across Canada and across the States,” Brandy says. Eventually, they decided on beans from Vancouver-based 49th Parallel. For the food, they took inspiration from a Leduc restaurant Jonathon loved, where a husband and wife team would craft three items each day – one soup, one salad, and one sandwich. “We didn’t want to be like, you can have a little bit of everything and nothing’s great. We just wanted to keep it simple,” Jonathon says. The menu includes staples like espresso and cappuccino, as well as a few house-made syrups, including coconut creme and vanilla bean, for those who prefer their caffeine with a bit of sweetness.