Reviews and Such Coffee Shops Restaurants

Scout – Kid-Friendly Coffee Space

Coffee shops are great gathering places. They’re great for getting together for planning meetings, for small group idea sharing, or just for having some time to spent with a good friend or two. Unfortunately, most of them aren’t designed with children in mind. Scout Coffee + Tea on Portage Avenue has just changed all that.

Scout Coffee trailer.
A child’s camp trailer play structure is only one of many child friendly elements incorporated into the design of Scout Coffee.

Now, let me start of by saying, that in my experience, places such as Fools and Horses, Thom Bargen, Parlour, Strong Badger, and others are very open and welcoming of children. However, despite this openness and the friendliness of the staff, none of these places are particularly physically designed to allow for parents to visit with each other while their children are engaged in other activities. More often than not parental visits will be interrupted more than once or twice. Enter Scout Coffee + Tea.

Owner Katrina Tessier, is a Winnipegger who spent four years living out in Victoria, B.C. While there she became a mother, and during her parental leave spent a good deal of time in a coffee shop that featured a section dedicated to children.

The idea took hold in her imagination, and when she returned to Winnipeg, she decided to open a similar style coffee shop, and now here it is, Scout Coffee & Tea.

Scout Coffee & Tea is located on the North Side of Portage Avenue, just across from Vimy Ridge Park. One of the things that I like about it is that it is conveniently located between my home and St. Margaret’s. St. Margaret’s has a lot of families with young children, so I hope those families find their way to Scout.

Situated inside a small strip mall, the space is long and narrow. There are large windows that fact onto Portage, so there is quite a bit of natural light that comes into the building. There is a counter facing the street at the front of the shop, with several stools. Along the one wall there is a large bench that forms and L and tables, with chairs, on the other side of the bench.

Scout Coffee + Tea table
Kid’s table along with a selection of toys and books.

There are also a couple of individual tables, along with one children’s table. The children’s table is located on the opposite side of the room from the bench. It’s this area, that has been set aside for the children.

One of the things I noticed right away about this section is that it has good selection of toys and books. There are soft toys, sturdy toys, creative toys, as well as books to keep older children interested and occupied. The added plus with this is that being directly across from the benches it’s easy for parents to watch their children while carrying on with their visiting. The little camper in the picture above even provides a fort space for the children.

Scout Coffee + Tea for Coffee

One thing I find, is after walking past a place for months and seeing paper over the window, I sometimes forget that the place is actually supposed to open. Fortunately for me, I happened to be walking down Portage Avenue Sunday evening, and noticed the paper on the windows was gone and the shop was actually open.

Monday is usually my day off, so I had a bit of a lie in yesterday morning, and after doing a few things around the house, I headed out and over to Scout. It was late morning when I arrived, but the place wasn’t particularly busy, but there were a couple of mothers enjoying a visit, over a visit. They both had children with them, one of whom was a baby in car seat, while the other was a toddler who was very much enjoying the play space.

Scout Coffee + Tea Americano
An Americano in a Scout Coffee + Tea mug.

I ordered an Americano, the Americano being my standard test drink whenever I visit a new coffee shop. I didn’t ask at the time, but when I went back this morning I wanted to know who there coffee supplier is. So, I asked, and found out it is Black Pearl Coffee from here in Winnipeg. I found this to be a very pleasant Americano, well balanced, and not too strong.

One of the things I immediately liked about Scout is discovering that the majority of their baked goods come from La Belle Baguette. I’ve tried several items from La Belle Baguette and have enjoyed everyone of them. Yesterday, I added a Gingerbread Person to that list, and once again it was very good. In fact, one of the better bits of gingerbread that I’ve enjoyed in quite a good while.

Scout Coffee + Tea Gingerbread
La Belle Baguette supplies a variety of sweet treats to Scout Coffee + Tea, including this delicious Gingerbread Person.

Breakfast Hot Chocolate

There was a noticeable dip in the temperature this morning. Even though it’s a short trip from my place to Scout, I was still hoping for something warm and comfortable when I arrived there in time for their 8 am opening.

Nothing says warm and comfortable quite like hot chocolate, so that was my order. Wanting something to eat as well, I went with the La Belle Baguette’s Blueberry Pocket Tarts.

Scout Coffee + Tea
A warm and nourishing Hot Chocolate to start a cold and blustery day.
Scout Coffee + Tea Pocket tart
The Blueberry Pocket Tart from La Belle Baguette, available at Scout Coffee + Tea

The hot chocolate was warm and soothing, bringing a touch of calmness before the business of the day. The Blueberry Pocket Tart is terrific. As you might know from reading the blog, Blueberry is my favourite flavour when it comes to such things as pies, muffins, jams, etc. These tarts from La Belle Baguette deliver plenty of that blueberry goodness,

While I tried items from La Belle Baguette on both of my visits to Scout, I should also mention that they carry doughnuts from Oh Doughnuts. they also carry salads, from The Beet Happening, and there are also a few cold drinks available in their cooler.

Service is good as well as friendly. Scout has only been open for a few days, but they seem to be very well-organized. I would definitely recommend that you visit Scout. This is especially true if you have children, and want to be able to let your children play while you visit with a friend. It’s also a good place to visit simply for good coffee and good food. It’s also a good place for kids to have a play-date.

I was in for another visit, just the other day, and ordered myself a latte. I noticed on the menu, that Scout seems to have a large variety of latte choices, from flavour shots to specialty lattes. Yesterday was a cool, damp, and breezy day, and the latte really hit the spot.

Scout latte
A warm and soothing latte from Scout.

I was also looking for something of a snack nature when I went in. It was getting close to supper time when I arrived, and so I decided on a bag of apple-cinnamon organic rice crisps. The rice cakes are called pat-a-cakes, and are made by Love Child Organics, a Canadian company focus on healthy, organic, and sustainable baby food.

Scout rice crisps
Love Child brand apple and cinnamon flavoured mini rice cakes.

By Donald McKenzie

Anglican priest, and food blogger. This blog is focused on Food. It will feature reviews of places to eat books, and the odd recipe. I also write about what it means to gather together around food.