A student studies at a table, savouring her tea as she pours over her books. Nearby, on one of the comfortable stuffed couches, friends are in deep conversation as they sip their lattes.
Picasso’s Coffee Break is easily found on the corner of Rutland and Gray, with its unique and artsy exterior providing a warm welcome, even in the midst of winter. Once inside, the the warmth and atmosphere of this coffee shop immediately says, “c’mon in, relax, and stay awhile.”
The walls feature artwork by — naturally — Pablo Picasso, which adds to the artsy-and-comfortable appeal of Picasso’s. Rebekah, the cheerful owner, is happy to point out the many extra little touches that she has brought into the coffee shop in order to give it a “come in and stay” dynamic.
“Actually, I was a customer of Picasso’s for years,” Rebekah laughs, as we enjoy lattes and lunch. “The very first day that it opened for business, I applied for a job here, and I told the (original) owner, ‘You want to hire me, or you’ll be sorry!’ I didn’t get the job, but now I own the place.”
Rebekah loved the atmosphere of Picasso’s, and the relationships with the regulars who frequent the shop for lunch — “that’s our peak time, definitely!” — and once she took over managing Picasso’s, she added things like a bookshelf with novels, to increase the sense of connection and community within the shop.
Rebekah is also proud of the fact that Picasso’s promotes healthy living, by having all organic foods, with no processed meats or cheese for their sandwiches, and that everything is fresh on a daily bases. “And no nitrates.”
And Picasso’s continues to have its regulars, among them the staff from Interior Health, who stop by almost daily for lunch. Rebekah’s commitment to healthy, organic foods makes her very pleased that health workers would choose her place to eat on a regular basis. The sandwiches, soups, and desserts are always fresh.
Picasso’s is open Monday through Frieday from 7:00 AM till 5:00 PM, although increasingly, people are choosing to rent Picasso’s for special events and parties, as well. “It’s absolutely packed in here a lot of evenings for private events,” says Rebekah.
We had to ask, as our lunch time with Rebekah came to a close, what had ever become of the original owner, after not hiring Rebekah back when Picasso’s first opened. As it turns out, there’s a story to tell about that, as well.
“Jim really missed our regular customers,” says Rebekah, “and the relationships he’d made with them, so he un-retired, and now he works here again.” Jim’s experience, coupled with Rebekah’s creativity, drive, and innovation, has created a unique synergy.
Definitely one of the gems to be found in Rutland.