The Bearded Barista is the new holiday-themed spot in town for coffee and baked goods, located in the building that used to house the iconic Saunders Bakery
Do you wish the Christmas season would never end? A new Rockwood cafe is here to make that wish come true.
Year-round Christmas-themed cafe, The Bearded Barista, recently opened in Rockwood on Main Street, in the building that used to house the iconic Saunders Bakery.
The name might sound familiar to some. Owner Jarod Dalley-Haase has been running a mobile cafe under the same name for the last two years, though it’s not Christmas themed.
“Basically, it’s a horse trailer that was converted into a cafe. We do weddings and special events, and last summer we started doing equestrian (events),” he said.
People were continuously asking if he had a brick and mortar location somewhere, which sparked the idea for the Main Street cafe.
As someone who loves Christmas, he thought going the themed route might be a fun way to stand out in the community.
The idea was inspired by two places he and his wife love: the year-round Christmas store in Niagara and Frankenmuth, Michigan, which is “basically a German Christmas village,” he said. “They have one of the world’s largest year-round Christmas places. It’s enormous.”
“We both love Christmas, so we kind of thought it would be a cool idea,” he said.
Along with espresso-based drinks, coffee, baked goods and other fun beverages, they sell things like Christmas decor and stocking stuffers.
There are, of course, several Christmas trees around the cafe, most of which were decorated by his mom.
“Her house looks like this place (at Christmas),” he said. “So it’s something I kind of grew up with and always really liked.”
Some of the decorations from his childhood even made it into the cafe, including some old Coca-Cola figurines.
While Dalley-Haase and his wife live in Woodstock, she grew up nearby, and was familiar with Saunders Bakery. They were initially looking at a location in St. Jacob’s, but when they learned this place became available, they just “fell in love.”
“The fact that it was an iconic place before is awesome,” he said.
The cafe has seen a steady flow of customers since opening in December, and Dalley-Haase hopes it will continue into the New Year. To help bring people in, he said they plan on holding monthly craft nights. They’re also planning to bring a local children’s author in for a reading sometime soon.
They’ll also have seasonal drinks and treats, like snow cones in the summer.
While the main room will be decorated for Christmas all year, the back room will be decorated seasonally. The Christmas decor will also be updated on an ongoing basis.
As for music, don’t expect to hear much Mariah Carey; wanting to emulate a cozy lounge feel, Dalley-Haase said they plan on playing a mix of jazz and jazz-style Christmas music.
He wants people to feel comfortable when they come into the cafe, and encourages them to stay a while on the plush couches or chairs. He even included a “living room” area for people to sit by the fire.
Even the washroom is covered in decorations – and if you have to go while you’re there, don’t be surprised to see a lifesize cutout of Will Ferrell as Elf staring out at you from the corner.