Architectural fixtures lead non-linear lives. Prospective lifespans differ greatly; a treasured cutting board might be bequeathed to one's progeny, but a twenty year old (translation: obsolete) toaster oven might be, at best, relegated to goodwill or, at worst, tossed out with yesterday's trash. The latter fate is far more common.
Indeed, restaurateurs are too often moon-blinked by North American's obsessive need for the shiny and new. Outmoded appliances, dishes and cutlery - and in that same breath, chairs, tables, shelves and virtually anything that can be set, sat on, or hung from a wall - are condemned to an inevitable purgatory of dumpsters and rummage sales.
The lucky ones experience rebirth at Iconoclast Koffiehuis.
So much at Iconoclast has a rich past. Church pews along one wall benefit from the addition of multicoloured cushions - a cushy respite long denied to the pious. Deconstructed, and then reconstructed, packing crates frame the central coffee bar. Ex-government mail boxes do double-duty as display cases for in-house roasted coffee, bagged simply in brown paper and stamped with approval. A ping-pong table, chess set, and antler-framed mirror round out this motley, yet thrillingly stylish, crew.
An Espresso Macchiato renders a litmus test for Iconoclast's chatoyant espresso machine, an auspicious catch sourced from recently defunct Roast Coffeehouse downtown. The resultant brew is cheery and bright, opening with songs of torrid Columbian evenings and winding down with a crisp disjuncture between seasons that can only be found at precisely 53 degrees north, preferably on the north side of the North Saskatchewan River.
Aptly-named Power Cookies are a sparrow's ransom of seeds and dried fruit. The summation of coconut, sesame seeds and garnet-hued cranberries, among other things, creates a toothsome and lightly sweet snack. Rustic and nuanced, just like their surroundings.
So much at Iconoclast has been lost and found. Chairs and cups have new purpose. Obsolete mailboxes (pictured above) patiently cradle special deliveries for those with taste for finely-crafted coffee. And yes, a twenty year-old toaster oven - complete with wood paneling - enjoys the seat of honour at the coffee bar.