For the last seven years Prado, located at 1938 Commercial Drive, has been a destination spot to Vancouver coffee lovers. Located in a beautiful heritage building, Prado’s location is on par with the high ceilings and exposed brick cafes that you can find in Seattle. The interior is beautiful in its minimalism. White walls fill the space in between the giant windows that bathe the space with natural light, perfect for anyone who likes to read while drinking coffee.
Recently Sammy Piccolo, former owner of Caffe Artigiano, bought Prado café once again giving Vancouverites the opportunity to experience his coffee. There are no celebrities per se in the coffee business, but Sammy is as close as they come. For those of you who don’t know him, Sammy is the 4-time Canadian Barista Champion, who has placed top 3 in the World every year that he’s entered the World Barista Competition. Aside from being an excellent technical barista, he has an upbeat personality that perfectly suits the role that a café owner needs to fill.
For the last few years Sammy had been bound by a non-competition clause that was installed with the sale of Caffe Artigiano. This means that Sammy was legally not allowed to own his own café or prepare coffee somewhere other than Artigiano, which is a shame. The non-compete clause expired in October and it didn’t take long for Sammy to jump at the opportunity to do what he loves. “It’s the café I’ve always wanted to own,” claims Piccolo, “The only thing that I’m going to add is a record player and new coffee equipment.”
For years Prado has advertised themselves as being fair-trade and organic, which was much more relevant during the time period in which the café was incepted. Here is an excellent article on the inherit problems with specific dedication to the Fair- Trade moniker: click here
Sammy will continue to serve coffee from his brothers Mike and Vince at 49th Parallel, but will expand his selection beyond the limits of fair-trade certification. “We’re going to have some growing pains for the first month,” Sammy says, “But our focus will be on good service and good coffee.”
~ Colter Jones