“Everything is made in-house in the oven. We try to do farm-to-table as much as we can to stay local.”
Most of us just endure the daily grind.
Dmitri Martin soaks it in, brews it up, savours the aroma and devotedly serves it to the rest of us.
Having no beans to grind with franchise beverage outfits, the head-shaved, healthy-bearded entrepreneur escaped the ordinary fare, putting his personal touch on every aspect of Sorso Coffee Social.
“I’ve always wanted to own my own restaurant but I couldn’t narrow it down to what I wanted exactly: a restaurant, a coffee shop or a pub,” says the industrious Airdrie resident. “I walked into places and noticed things that I liked or noticed things I would’ve done different. I guess my whole life I did that.”
Focusing on characterization, style and, of course, taste, Martin percolates his knowledge into running a relaxing, welcoming atmosphere at the Bayside restaurant/coffee house.
Spending many months researching coffee and tea flavour profiles, recipes and food choices, Martin also sought out local feedback to get that perfect blend for Sorso (which is Italian for “to sip”).
“I wasn’t in a rush. I did my due diligence, meeting with people and going around Airdrie asking what people wanted in a coffee shop,” says Martin, who incorporated a children’s area and meeting space into the establishment.
Brewing up plenty of hard work, the pertinacious businessman left a reliable livelihood behind as a counsellor at Community Links and put his nose to the grindstone designing and building Sorso.
Perking up the day from morning to night, the coffee social adds a shot of flavour to all gastronomic needs, whether it’s the Big Breakfast Croissant; a soup of the day matched with an Apple Turkey Bacon sandwich; latte or loose-leaf tea and hand-crafted cookies or desserts highlighting a relaxed afternoon meeting; or an evening snack co-ordinated with an on-tap beer or well-stocked wine bar.
“The concept is to elevate everything; we have the best coffee, the best grinders,” says Martin, a self expressed ‘foodie’ who, along with an executive chef, created Sorso’s menu. “Everything is made in-house in the oven. We try to do farm-to-table as much as we can to stay local.
“If you have a ham sandwich that comes up as a roast ham with a bone, we will use that bone to make a split pea and ham soup later,” he adds.
Building its foundation on coffee, Sorso uses two top-of-the-line professional grinders in offering the house blend as well as a rotating guest blend Martin brings in from Calgary, Edmonton, Victoria and as far away as Nova Scotia.
“I’m not tied down to a single roast. At any given time if you want our house roast it’s always available, but we’re always bringing in and showcasing other roasters from around Canada,” says Martin, who also sourced out 30 different 100 per cent organic loose-leaf teas.
Keeping with a caffeinated energetic theme, the assiduous java vendor even designed and fashioned the social gathering place decor. Sorso’s main feature is a vintage 1890s bar decorated with industrial styled stools retrofitted by Martin.
Adding another bit of history to the establishment, the sitting area is decorated with up-cycled tables rescued from the Cecil Hotel in Calgary.
“It’s a piece of heritage. I resanded them, got them stained with new glass and coffee sacks underneath and re-powder-coated the bases. That’s your personal touch. We do that with the coffee, with the tea, with the food menu, even with the decor,” says Martin, who is planning to add a drive-thru to the establishment.
“Everything here has my signature on it, including the music you’re listening to. My staff may think I’m a bit of a micromanager,” Martin adds with a chuckle.