About six months ago, a new spin on a traditional café came to Uptown Waterloo. If you’re looking for a change in scenery in the Kitchener-Waterloo area, you don’t have to go far. At Settlement Co., you step out of small-ish town Canada and into an urban paradise you’d find in San Francisco.
Here they’re focused around making a community, just as a settlement is. To quote their website, “It’s a place to gather, to learn the news of the day and to discuss matters of mutual concern… It’s where you start your day, where you meet your Mom for lunch, and where you run into an old friend and where you have that important meeting.” From students working on projects to business meetings in one of their “coffices”, Settlement Co. is about creating a space inviting of conversation above all else. Even if you don’t come in to make new friends, chances are you’ll leave with a new one. Just try asking for the WiFi password – that will get you started!
You’re probably curious about what they mean by a coffice – yes, it’s a mash up of coffee and office. Settlement Co. can actually be sectioned off and booked by businesses for meetings and retreats. They’ve installed huge barn-style doors which can section off parts of the establishment for privacy so you and your coworkers can brainstorm, discuss and go about your business in peace. Most of the time though it’s open for all to use. If this wasn’t enough, they have a licensed patio in the back alley that’s one of a kind in Uptown Waterloo! Enjoy one of their sophisticated cocktails but don’t get your heart set on one as their cocktail menu changes seasonally.
As I’m sure you can tell, their specialty is coffee as they are a roaster. In talking with Nicholas, one of the partners behind Settlement Co., he told me that their coffee, to his knowledge, has the most progressive roasting style of any KW coffee roaster. They also feature a cold brew, a trend which is gaining popularity within the region. It’s definitely a hit with them as they go through about a keg a day! Luckily they brew it just down the street at Abe Erb, who Settlement Co. is partnered with. If it wasn’t for their capabilities, they wouldn’t be able to keep up with demand! Something unique on their menu is that you can try one of their flights – an espresso, a macchiato and a filtered coffee.
The building unfortunately makes the space for a kitchen very limited, but that didn’t stop them. Instead, they made it a strength and now they boast the only toast bar in the region! They also have a selection of sandwiches and baked goods to enjoy along with your cup of joe. Come in and try their featured toast on Tuesdays for their Toast Tuesdays! Settlement Co. isn’t a jack-of-all-trades kind of coffee shop, but they’re definitely a master of some. This can be seen as they source locally as much as they can by working directly with some of the region’s farmers to source their ingredients. Not only this, but each of their coffee beverages has one dedicated size – no tall, grande, and venti here. This is to ensure the correct ratio so your coffee tastes exactly as it should, all the time. You’ll also never have to worry about deciding on a size!
Another thing that makes Settlement Co. extremely unique is that the brick you see is the original brickwork from when the building was constructed in the late 1800s. They had to go through over a foot of drywall to get to it! Their building was once a bank of commerce branch, and then a shoe company after that. Nicholas said they found a warranty card during construction as it was preserved within the walls!
Kitchener-Waterloo is becoming home to many gems and Settlement Co. is definitely one of them. If you haven’t had a chance to visit, I highly suggest it! Anyone in the KW area knows how insane the construction in Uptown Waterloo has been (and continues to be), which makes visiting amazing places like Settlement Co. that much more important. Be sure to support your local businesses so we don’t lose any of the amazing shops and cafés that call Uptown home! But if you don’t make it into Waterloo very often, never fear! Settlement Co. is actually planning on opening a second location in downtown Kitchener! It won’t be for a while yet though, so get your caffeine fix at 23 King Street North!