Boyle McCauley News

Since 1979 • June-July 2022 • Circulation 5000

Founder of THE nook CAFE Still Standing

Lynsae Moon at THE nook CAFE’s booth at the Downtown Farmers Market. Paula E. Kirman

Updated June 9th, 2022: THE Nook CAFE posted this message on their social media on June 9th:

It is with a bittersweet feeling we announce that this weekend’s offerings @yegdtmarket [June 11-12] will be our last service for the foreseeable future. Not forever but for a while. We have decided to take the next few months off to rest, recoup, and regroup so we can see what might come next for us. (More on this soon).

In November of 2021, THE nook CAFE, a vendor of great baked goods, became a feature of the Edmonton Downtown Farmers Market. Their window-front booth is tucked to the right near the 97th Street entrance.

Most weekends, co-owner Lynsae Moon is behind the counter, not just promoting her products but also charming the customers. All of the market vendors are charming but this one has a slight edge. Perhaps it’s because of her remarkable history in the downtown coffee shop/restaurant scene.

In June of 2017, Moon opened a unique establishment called THE nook CAFE just south of the market on 101A Avenue. Her unique and clear vision, along with her boundless energy, inspired Edify magazine to name her a Top 40 Under 40 in their class of 2021.

Moon’s goal, as described on THE nook CAFE’s website (nookyeg.com), is “to build community by inviting closeness through a space of warmth and belonging.” The definition of “community” is wide-ranging. The definition of “community” is wide-ranging. For example, Moon adopted a pay-it-forward suspended coffee program, inviting people to purchase buttons to be kept in a jar and used by anyone who needed to redeem them for food and drink. She welcomed underprivileged people to patronize the cafe along with the artsy people who like this sort of place and the traditional business crowd like federal government workers from Canada Place located across the street.

Sadly, three and half years after opening, adversity and challenges came in waves. First there was the ongoing pandemic and then a major construction project that removed easy access to the cafe and use of the patio. There were complications related to the provincial government’s rent and employee subsidies to address the pandemic, and ongoing difficulty negotiating with the landlord. It was a recipe for bankruptcy, but as Moon puts it, “I am still standing.”

Moon pivoted to farmers market venues. First, she had an outdoor booth at the 124 Grand Market. Then, she moved to the downtown market booth, baking the items for sale in THE nook CAFE’s original premises. But this space will not be available after the lease expires in June, so she is looking for a new baking site and perhaps a new cafe location.

Moon continues to passionately embrace her original goals, which include “to build but not gentrify.” She says, “A cafe is reminiscent of a daytime bar, a place where people come to decompress, meet friends, and be social. It becomes a part of people’s rituals.”

Anita Jenkins is a retired writer and editor who lives in Boyle Street.

Subscribe to our newsletter

News from the neighbourhood delivered straight to your inbox. Sign up and stay in touch!