For a long time, the northeast corner of 14th at Main in Vancouver's vibrant Mount Pleasant was a Starbucks. First it was a run-of-the-mill Starbucks, and then it morphed into western Canada's first Starbucks Reserve Bar. But when the global coffee mega-chain shut the location down in early 2021, it was anyone's guess what would take its place.
In fact, 2980 Main Street almost became a bank branch this year.
Instead, the roomy retail space is now the first Vancouver outpost of a Whistler-based coffee spot and all-day restaurant called Forecast - and that means an independent small B.C. business gets to establish some roots in the neighbourhood.
Forecast began as a cafe in Whistler and is now two locations strong there in the Sea to Sky, but Vancouver offers a buzzy opportunity to grow and connect further. Currently in its "soft launch" phase, the cafe offers casual counter-serve breakfast and lunch fare and beverages including brewed coffee, teas, smoothies, and espresso drinks.
The Forecast Coffee team inherited what was a bare-bones space, as the cafe's manager explains, with the old 'bux massive L-shaped counter, outlets, and cold sections left behind - and not much else. It was a quick but extensive build-out to set up as they needed to create space for making more food and to lighten and brighten the shop.
The walls are now white and the furnishings are generally blond wood and wicker. Cozy touches like throw blankets are on the chairs designed more for intimate conversations, and the expected daytime crowds are plugged into laptops and cellphones while sipping their coffees. Forecast plans to expand its in-store retail offerings soon, which includes merch and their own house line of coffee beans.
The menu mirrors that of its cafe in Whistler's Function Junction, with an array of fresh, approachable, and laid back fare. There's a trio of tacos, noodles, wraps and sandwiches, and hearty salads, including plenty veggie options. Forecast makes its own cookies and banana bread and works with a Vancouver baker for more pastries like cinnamon scrolls.
Once Forecast's liquor licence is in place, the cafe will expand to include more evening options, like coffee-forward cocktails and share-plate style appies.
The vision is for Forecast to be a neighbourhood spot that shifts its vibe slightly as the clock moves into the late afternoon and evening, perfect for closing up the laptop and ordering up a post-work cocktail, or meeting friends for a casual dinner of small plates and beer or wine.
Another goal of the Forecast team is to work closely with community groups, with an aim to host activities like litter clean-ups and other events that will bring people together and make the neighbourhood a better place. Forecast already has in place a company pledge to give back one per cent of its annual sales to social, community, and environmental initiatives in the region.
Though Forecast has just launched, it's already a popular draw in Mount Pleasant, joining the chorus of indie businesses in the area that offer a locally-minded product and a gathering place.