Edmonton's Farrow, Ain't It Niche!

Garneau's not-so-secret gem Farrow Sandwiches & Coffee gets by with keeping it simple, unique, and most importantly, tasty!

by emil tiedemann

THE other day a buddy and I had spent maybe 10 minutes flipping through the pages of a threadbare menu at some local breakfast joint, only to be disappointed with the end result. That kind of scenario simply couldn't happen at Farrow Sandwiches & Coffee (8422-109 St / 780.757.4160), situated next door to Three Boars Eatery in the Garneau district. 
No reservations at the modest Farrow: "we only have three stools!"

That's because your options are few at Farrow, which prefers to stick with a simple menu that allows for a rotating selection of craft sandwiches (including always a vegan choice) to go along with their signature Grick Middle breakfast sandwich. The Grick is a fried egg, bacon, arugula, and smoked "cheddah" in between a pair of slices of toasted bread glazed with tomato jam and rosemary aioli. 
The Grick Middle is Farrow's "flagship" breakfast sandwich.

It's the only menu option that is available every day of the year. "That's one we came up with from the start," said co-owner Justin Benson, who's focus is on the coffee side of Farrow. "It's kind of our flagship sandwich." 

The Sgt. Pepper's Bolognely Hearts Club Band sandwich was one of Farrow's feature options, made with jalapeno & cheddar bologna, BBQ sauce, peanut butter, sauerkraut, and apple slaw!

Coffee is the other emphasis at Farrow, offering one of the most unique and authentic coffee experiences you'll find in all of caffeine-crazy Edmonton. They use what is known as the pourover method, a slow-drip process in which boiled water is gradually poured over freshly ground beans and filtered through a dripper for 3-4 minutes per cup. 

Co-owner Justin Benson brewing me a cup of coffee from Portland using a Japanese method known as pourover, which allows for a more distinct flavour. Benson is also an avid motorcyclist who co-owns Edmonton's Federal Moto garage & shop.

Originating out of Japan, the pourover practice calls for a special kettle and carafe, as well as patience, but the payoff is freshly-brewed coffee with a distinct flavour for each of the 12-14 permanent or rotating roasters from around the world. 

For all of Edmonton's bean fiends there's Farrow's Bean Club, a monthly subscription that allows participants to taste a new coffee for each of 3, 6 or 12-month periods. Anyone who commits will also receive one of their custom "club mugs"!

"[The Bean Club] is a huge part of this place," admitted Benson, who gained a lot of his knowledge and experience running downtown's Elm Cafe before opening Farrow with partner Laine Cherkewick in April 2014.

Owners Justin Benson (left) & Laine Cherkewick opened Farrow in April 2014. This winter they hope to offer a catering option as well, but have no immediate plans to expand beyond that!

Since then it's become a niche favourite for Garneau residents and visitors who welcome it's limited - yet innovative - menu. Although places like Farrow are (for now) few and far between in Edmonton, these food & drink nooks are common in many of the bigger cities. 

"Some of my favourite cities that I go to have like a million types of these places and each one has its own sort of personality," said Cherkewick, who came from the neighbouring Three Boars Eatery. "We were in Montreal together a couple of weeks ago, and they had some of the most niche restaurants! They had a bagel-pizza restaurant and they only cooked in Forno ovens, and that was like their schtick. It's so particular."
Located next door to Three Boars Eatery in the Garneau neighbourhood, Farrow is open on weekdays from 8AM-4PM & weekends from 9AM-4PM (closed on Tuesdays).

Particular is a good word for Farrow, because you'd be hard-pressed to stumble upon another local joint like it. From the moment you walk into the place, which is no larger than my own bedroom, you recognize it's personality all over the place. Starting at its honeycomb tiled floors to the permanent wall art that was done by local award-winning artist Josh Holinaty, it beckons "particular." In a very good way. 

You can also follow Farrow on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.  


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