Radio Station Cafe

Author: george Posted: November 16, 2008

Every time I drive by it, I always say to myself that I need to check out Radio Station Cafe. Problem is I’m either always late for wherever I’m heading, or it’s closed.

On Saturday Chris and I were driving by once again, en route to Bump’n'Grind, when everything aligned. We happen to hit a red light at the corner streets upon which Radio Station Cafe is situated and voila! When I looked out the window and saw it staring back at me we turned off course and parked right away.

The reason most (at least outside the coffee community) haven’t heard about Radio Station Cafe is it’s on the corner of Hastings and Columbia, which is about a block up from Pigeon’s Corner – as in the heart of the Downtown East Side. Not exactly the best of areas, but little things like this can’t get in the way of a potentially good coffee can they?

Don’t answer that, it’s a rhetorical question.

We walked in and ordered two macchiatos – ‘for here’. The barista said they technically weren’t allowed to serve in ‘to stay mugs’ but, because he also thought having a macchiato in a paper cup would be disgusting (and how right he was) they let us use some of their own. As long as we promised not to sue them, that is. (actually.)

The cups didn’t match. And that glass one on the left was probably 10 or 12 oz – so it was half filled. But guess what? It was the most enjoyable mac I’ve had out in a long time. Nice milk temperature, great shots, but most importantly it was made with love. Well, you know what I mean. Chris agreed, ’twas good indeed.

When he put it up on the bar he said the shot dragged a bit, so the drink should be chocolaty but not too dark. He nailed it.

They use JJ Bean, a La Marzocco, and a grinder we didn’t recognize.

Check it out if you’re in the area or feel like a change of scenery.  It’s a diamond in the rough.  If you do, I would do them and yourself a favor and bring your own cup though.

13 Responses to “Radio Station Cafe

  1. Chris says:

    I keep wanting to call it Radiohead Cafe.

  2. brent dennen says:

    i go by this cafe all the time while taking the 135 burrard bus from sfu to downtown. you’re right, its usually all locked up or there’s weirdos sitting on the patio outside or weirdos trying to persuade the baristas to let them in through the locked doors.

    i commend you for taking the time to visit it, though! i don’t know if i could do that on my own…

  3. John Giannakos says:

    Cool, never even seen this cafe in all my vancouver travels. I love the way the tiles compliment the rest of the decor.

    Interesting they put the syrups on top the machine, those pumps like to spray all over the place.

  4. Danny says:

    Looks like a Simonelli grinder…to bad the machine isn’t ;) heheh

  5. Kyle Wheeler says:

    The grinder we use for the espresso is a La Cimbali. It is literally falling apart. There’s word of a new one coming in, but no tangible evidence as of yet.
    The guys on the patio shouldn’t scare you away, they’re a generally friendly lot, minus the knife possesion and an ugly dispostion to tourists. (kidding, they’re nice.) They mean no harm.
    The syrups really have nowhere else to go. Given the location of our shop, if they are not in front of our eyes, they disappear. As does honey. And keyboards. And sugar canisters. And generally anything else we do not nail down.
    Thanks for the review, and we do apologise for the lack of china, but our main clientelle wouldn’t appreciate it as much/ it would go missing instantly.
    Cheers. Kyle.

  6. Laura Harris says:

    Hey Kyle,
    I see you WAYYY in the background. I want to see your smiling face! Maybe I should donate a bunch of mugs for you guys. Sounds like you could probably use some!

  7. Kyle Wheeler says:

    Oh, we’ve got mugs. We just can’t serve them. It has to do with not having three parts to our sink or something. And they get stolen a lot. So we just sneak the mugs to people who would appreciate them.

  8. John Giannakos says:

    I finally went here for the first time today, what an awesome place. The macchiatto I had was very well made, perfect temp, good crema, and a nice rosetta to seal the deal. Music was nice and loud, and the place was busy. Next time I go, I’m going to try some of the food as the menu looked pretty promising.

    Definitely check it out.

  9. John Giannakos says:

    Oh and looks like they upgraded their grinder situation since the comment above, they were using two Anfim’s when I went.

  10. Colin says:

    I am so out of the loop on Vancouver cafe culture – this is a great tip. Love the photography… I use a Canon EOS-30D… fine camera but it all comes down to the person behind the shutter.


  11. Audrey says:

    I’ve really been wanting to check this place out, looks so cool!
    now I definitely will go out of my way to check it out. what are the hours anyone?

  12. Kyle Wheeler says:

    Hours! our hours are Mon-Fri 7-4:30 and Sat 8-1, but generally on saturday you might be able to sneak in a bit later… also, Jeremy and I (Jeremy’s the one in the pictures) are trying to get a jam/throwdown in the works there for sometime in the next month or so. Just saying.

  13. James Oickle says:

    Excellent place, great staff and if you ever need laundry done they have a great service at reasonable price. Most of the crew out front are regulars and if something bad happened I guarantee most would stand for you . Wish hours could be longer but understand why not.

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