Dar Jmayoff and Facundo Mandalari at Viibrant Earth Cafe. Photo by Dauna Ditson

Fresh food cafe finds Canal Flats home

Viibrant Earth Cafe opens

An ad for an airstream brought new business owners to Canal Flats.

Dar Jmayoff and Facundo Mandalari opened Viibrant Earth Cafe in the old high school location in Canal Flats last week.

The cafe features food for any time of the day, like comfort food classic mac & cheese, grilled cheese, or rigatoni Italiano, as well as more refined options such as pizza made with hand pressed pizza dough, or a Caesar salad complete with homemade croutons. Breakfast options feature classic waffles, avocado toast (with artisan sourdough), or rice pesto bowls, amongst others.

So why the extra ‘i’ in Viibrant?

“The double i gives it that extra. It’s not just vibrant; it’s viibrant,” says co-owner Dar Jmayoff.

The couple plans to grow much of the food on offer, with menu items created with ingredients as “live and fresh as it can be.” They plan to make their own sourdough bread – baked fresh every day – as well as their own homemade pasta.

But above all else, says Ms. Jmayoff, the key will be to offer food that is good for the body and soul.

“Everything is made with the understanding that I ask the food to heal all it feeds,” Ms. Jmayoff explains. “It’s about connection.”

Ms. Jmayoff is a natural health practitioner, with a background in a variety of fields including coordinating charity events, running golf courses, spas, and sports pubs. She teaches holistic nutrition – teaching people about plant life medicine, and spiritual management. Her partner Facundo Mandalari worked in the high end hardwood flooring business. The pair were ready for a change and began looking around. They bandied about the idea of building a tiny home and growing a new business from building tiny homes and offering workshops to teach people how to eat properly and grow their own food.

When Canal Flats resident (and former coffee shop owner in the Viibrant Earth space) Kelly Kask responded to the couple’s query about his trailer for sale, he also sent them a video about Canal Flats, Ms. Jmayoff explains. She and Mr. Mandalari were 10 minutes away from reaching a plot of land they were considering for their tiny home plans. When they saw the video and Mr. Kask’s encouragement to come to Canal Flats, they turned around, drove to the Flats, spent a few days in the area (including going probably 20 times to Lussier hot springs, Ms. Jmayoff says) and “fell in love with it.”

They heard about the empty coffee shop space and decided on the spot to launch into business. They packed up their lives in Calgary and headed west.

“I literally have no fear, and we both have had a lot of success in our life. We have nothing stopping us, and we just want to create,” Ms. Jmayoff says of the massive life change.

With the cafe now open, the couple will be turning their attention to the bistro side of their business. It will be open for reservations only, licensed, and with a “five-star” menu, Ms. Jmayoff describes. With 2,200 square feet of space, splitting the space into a cafe and a restaurant just made sense.

The Viibrant Earth Cafe will be open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Thursdays to Mondays.

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