Brch Social: Collaboration That Puts Coffee in Your Cup

A new cafe is coming to 1 King Street North in Waterloo. Brch Social is a project born of a partnership between Urbanistyc, a real estate development company of Stratford and Show & Tell coffee of Kitchener. With large windows, low tables, high ceilings, white walls and a passionate and creative team focused on quality and experience, the Brch Social feels like kismet. 

The space, which was previously occupied by One King North, a co-working cafe, is going to be nothing like its predecessor. While office and desk space will still be available on the second and third floors, the focus now is purley is on the cafe. Brch is going to be less of a place to work, and more of a place to come and chat over a quality cup of coffee. Inspired by Scandinavian and Japanese flavor profiles and design, the interior and the menu at Brch are dialed back to just what they need to be, nothing more. Quality is of the most importance, and no expense is spared to create a curated and consistent coffee experience. 

“If you look at that building, it feels like it’s meant to have that style. [Urbanistyc] is very talented. [They] could make anything work there, but you would be trying to make something work. You know the saying “the block of marble, you are just uncovering the statue.” That space, it just works. It just makes sense,” mused Chris Tellez, one of the founders of Show & Tell coffee shop. 

Urbanistyc moved into a long-term lease at 1 King St. N, allowing them to re-make the space however they wanted; they deliberately chose the top floor as their office, and the main floor as the cafe. The majority of Urbanistyc’s past projects have been in Stratford, meaning Brch is the perfect opportunity to showcase their aesthetic to the Region, where they hope to continue to grow their real estate development projects. Urbanistyc is taking the lead on determining the style and brand of Brch Social.

“With [Urbanistyc] managing the space, we want it to be the best it can be, especially with such a great location. It would be a shame not to do it justice,” Catalina Berther, the strategic lead for Urbanistyc said. 

“Design wise, it’s a little bit different that pretty much everything uptown in the cafe scene and we put a lot of time and effort into every little thing. It’s very curated, and in some areas we did not spare any expense.”

Tellez, alongside other founder of Show & Tell Coffee in Kitchener, Andrew Thom, are managing the operations of Brch Social. Thom and Tellez have collectively been in the coffee business for 25 years and they say that Brch feels like the perfect blank canvas. 

While they may not have been able to afford venturing into the more corporate Waterloo on their own terms for quite some time, the partnership with Urbanistyc allows them to develop a cafe of their dreams. Show & Tell had a previous working relationship with One King North co-working cafe, which opened the door to Urbanistyc’s Brch. However, this time around they are much more heavily involved. 

“Personally, as a creative person, I enjoy making stuff, but I also kind of like having a little bit of a box around it. It gives me something to work within,” Thom said. 

“It’s a fun challenge because there is also an aspect of pleasing somebody too…[Brch] seemed like a really cool challenge, and it was the style that we had considered going [at Show & Tell], but we realized we didn’t have the space that would go along with it.”

The food and beverage at Brch will be similar to that served at Show & Tell, just slightly more nuanced and refined, cleaner and crisper. 

While Thom, who is developing the menu, emphasizes the importance of working with local bakers and vendors, such as Unity Baking, he also see the value in bringing in the best possible products, even if they are international. 

They want to bring in ingredients not often used, and lead the Region in a style of cuisine that seems to be missing here. Eventually, Brch hopes to get their Liquor License, continuing the thoughtful experimentation into the evening with a cocktail menu. 

The energy and passion of Thom, Tellez and Berther is palpable. They are drawn together by a desire to do something different and unique, to shake people out of their routines and to bring some new life to King Street. As the young entrepreneurial demographic in the area continues to grow, they hope this cafe can lead and inspire others to see that their own creative dreams are possible. The team is just as excited to create the space for themselves, as they are to take their customers on the ride with them. The project is bigger than just coffee. 

“Different gets people in the door, quality keeps people coming back. Yes, we are going to things that are fun, different, weird and exciting but at the same time, with every one of those things the backbone is super consistent quality,” Tellez assured. 

Brch Social will open in the early weeks of August, welcoming everyone in the Region to come and enjoy a quality cup.