FREDERICTON – Picaroons and Real Food Connections are counting the days until they open their latest collaboration: The Roundhouse, a local food cafe, taproom and retail shop overlooking the Saint John River from Devon.
The Roundhouse, which has been dubbed “a match made in Devon,” came about after a number of event collaborations between local craft brewery Picaroons and local general store Real Food Connections. The Roundhouse manager and Real Food Connections co-owner Kim Lawrence says that since the two companies have such similar values, collaboration just made sense for them.
“It’s one of those things that just sort of fell into line. It wasn’t a grand scheme or anything,” Lawrence says. “We’re both trying to grow small business in New Brunswick and keep as much of our buying local as we can … We also have discussed the triple bottom line, so people, planet, profit … We align on a lot of those things.”
Since The Roundhouse is a public building located near one of Fredericton’s walking trails, it will be open to anyone who wants to stop in, rather than being limited to paying customers. The Roundhouse will offer public washrooms and space for people to have a seat and use wifi.
“We want this to be an open and bustling community building where people can come in, grab a coffee, grab a snack, have lunch, grab a beer with it if you want – we won’t tell your boss,” Lawrence says “Just bring a little bit more life to the Northside and this park. This is such an awesome location. It’s in a beautiful park. It looks right over at the city and it is a public building.”
“We want to see it open and lively on this side of the river. It’s a reason to come off the walking bridge. There’s so many people, they’ll walk right up to the edge and they’ll get to there and then they’ll just turn around and go back.”
Lawrence says that they’ve already had a lot of positive feedback ahead of the opening. She says the people of Devon are especially looking forward to having a place like The Roundhouse nearby rather than having to cross over to the Southside.
“It’s been overwhelmingly positive,” Lawrence says. “People are really excited. Usually it’s like ‘when do you open? Are you open yet?’ It’s been really great. We’re pretty excited to be able to let people in here for the first time.”
“I don’t know if it’s more the beer or if it’s more the food [people are excited about]. I think it’s a little bit of both. I think it’s also the atmosphere and being able to be on this side of the river looking over and using the space. Frankly, I think people are just a little bit nosy and want to get in and see the building too. I don’t blame them.”
Lawrence hopes The Roundhouse will continue the current trend of spreading local breweries and taprooms across the city.
With just a few finishing touches to be done and licenses to be issued, The Roundhouse is expected to open to the public by the end of the month.