By Chadd Cawson
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
We live in a fast-paced world, always on the go and it is traditionally how we take our coffee. This Canada Day, on July 1, skip the drive-through and go into the bush, for The Bush Cafe’s grand opening of their pop-up cafe operating out of Pynelogs Cultural Centre. The Bush Cafe invites you to stop and smell the coffee grounds and bring the magic, and social aspect back into enjoying your favourite specialty brew whether it be hot or iced, fancy or a combination. This will also include a myriad of specialty teas provided from TEA etc. in Invermere.
“I thought we should have a place where one can sample a variety of coffees, in a variety of preparation methods, so that people can understand or at least experience something different,” says Ilija Stankovski owner and operator of The Bush Cafe. “In the true spirit of local product use, both the coffee and tea are going to be local.” Stankovski, whose wife is an artist and has had her work showcased at Pynelogs, approached them about leasing out space for the summer months. “I thought it would be great to have an art gallery and café working together,” says Stankovski.
After 20 years plus in the field of Information Technology, Stankovski who moved to the valley from Calgary nine years ago, originally from Macedonia, Europe and with a rich history in coffee culture decided to stir things up a bit. “I grew up making Turkish coffee for my parents,” shares Stankovski. The idea for his pop-up portable café popped in his head last year. While Canada Day may be The Bush Cafe’s summer grand opening; they are no stranger to the community and have already popped up a few places since last November like the lobby of Copper Point Resort and at Eddie Mountain Memorial Arena for kids, and youth hockey tournaments.
“It was perfect because there were lots of people coming in from out of town and we had the coffee shop set up in the morning and people loved it,” recalls Stankovski. They were able to hold a warm fancy latte in their hands while their kids were playing. It was a great success.” The pandemic also put the brakes on The Bush Cafe popping up in more places. “All events got cancelled, the goal was to go to different locations, but the pandemic shut everything down, so we took a pause for the winter and spring just because there wasn’t a lot happening publicly,” said Stankovski.
In Europe, enjoying a coffee is about being more present with the beverage and with the company you are keeping. “Coffee was something where you would commit the time with a friend and have a snack, and there was that social aspect of it,” shares Stankovski. The Bush Cafe invites you to slow down and enjoy the beverage of your choice on Pynelogs patio this summer. You can enjoy views of Lake Windermere, a tributary of the Columbia River located on the unceded territories of the Secwépemc and Ktunaxa People and the land chosen as home by the Métis Peoples of B.C.
Along with an array of freshly made pastries you can also sample and bring home coffee from any of the 10 local Kootenay roasters— coffee roasted in places like Kimberly, Fernie, and Revelstoke for example, with roasts all reflecting their own unique communities. The wine industry has done a really great job in terms of educating people about a variety of different wines and options for our palettes and that is what The Bush Cafe aims to do with these roasters. Allow people to discover, experience, and fall in love with the subtle flavours and notes of coffee like many have with wine.
The Bush Cafe has already hired three staff members and has started training. They will be open five days a week from Tuesday through Saturday for the months of July and August. To learn more about their menu visit thebush.ca.
“Throughout my life coffee wasn’t just a necessity but a time about getting together and sharing quality time with loved ones,” says Stankovski. “I feel over the years in a lot of ways the social aspect of coffee has died, and I aim to bring that back to the valley. We are very excited to serve the community and create a relaxing place for people to sip their coffee and enjoy their day.”