Fresh Start – Invest Medicine Hat

Fresh Start

Creative City / News / People / Real Estate / Start-up Culture

Same local flavor, new location

January 15, 2018

Heartwood Café is doubling its square footage to keep up with demand.

Meghan Bidinger bought the business in 2013 and rebranded it as Heartwood Café, a downtown lunch spot with a focus on a fresh, locally-sourced menu. After five years on 3rd Street SE inside the historic Eatons building, it was time for a fresh start to keep up with the cafe’s growing popularity.

Heartwood Cafe is moving into their new downtown location on North Railway Street on January 15, filling a vacant but restaurant-ready building.

“I could see a lot of potential in this building,” recalls owner Meghan Bidinger of considering the new location. “It had some hidden character and there was already a commercial kitchen in place.”

The façade was transformed from crumbling stucco to welcoming rustic brick and wood with a lot of elbow grease and the help of a $5,000 grant from the City of Medicine Hat’s Downtown Development Incentive Program (DDIP).

North Railway Street is undergoing revitalization with Heartwood Café as the new restaurant on the block. There’s existing retail, including a pharmacy, antique shops, and boutique furniture offerings, a co-work space, professional services and a stylish bed and breakfast.

The 1,000 extra square feet and larger kitchen will help Heartwood Café keep up with demand. The café will be open for breakfast lunch and dinner and have familiar favourites on the menu along with a new selection of pizzas, coffee-inspired cocktails and beer. Occasionally, there will be live music to complement the laid-back atmosphere.

“Many cities are defined by their restaurants,” says Bidinger. “They offer a lot in terms of cultural value and it’s great to have been able to expand on what is available in Medicine Hat.”

Heartwood Café’s former location on 3rd Street SE is for lease, an opportunity for the next entrepreneur to get their start.