A batch of golden double-baked almond croissants lines the counter, and a slice of roasted tomato and goat cheese quiche is in the midst of being served. An order of espresso is up, and the soft chatter of friends fills the room. A cafe is made for moments like these—especially Coco et Olive, one of Main Street’s most cherished destinations.
Amid jumbled, mismatched tables and colourful chairs with bits of paint chipped away, Mattise Facchin sits near the sun-drenched window. Her relationship with the rustic Parisian-inspired cafe is utterly special—Coco et Olive is truly her second home. “My parents actually started it together,” she recalls with delight. “I think they started it when I was 11 or 12. And now, I’m turning 26. It’s been a long time.”
The story of Coco et Olive is rooted in humble beginnings on West Broadway, in a sleepy Kitsilano area that knew how to celebrate slow mornings with good coffee and even better scones. Each day, edible masterpieces were freshly baked, and the food was always in rotation, giving customers the chance to explore Coco et Olive’s culinary prowess.
West Broadway was a location that worked well for the family, especially during Facchin’s childhood; she would often wander to the cafe after school. Upon arrival, Facchin’s mother Joanne, a food stylist who attended culinary school in Paris, would teach her how to bake, allowing her to get involved with the family business early on.
Coco et Olive’s Kitsilano cafe was such a success that an expansion was soon in the cards, and before long, its Main Street location opened up—but not long after, Facchin’s parents split. Although a time like this often brings uncertainty, Coco et Olive embraced change. With two locations now in business, Facchin’s parents each took a spot: her father, Main Street and her mother, West Broadway.
During this time, Facchin graduated from high school and began to dedicate herself to the family business. Not only was she doing most of the baking and also working behind the counter, she was establishing a business structure—something she says was never recognized before, as her parents had done everything on their own. “It turned into this thing where I was getting more and more sucked in here, and I really liked it,” she says. “When you lay the groundwork, you do more and more.” She was conducting the hiring and training, all while setting a renewed vision for the homegrown cafe.
With the Main Street location still in its infancy, Facchin knew she didn’t want to be at the West Broadway outpost anymore. She was spending most of her time in the Riley Park area, a place she calls much “cooler”—so she convinced her father to switch locations, and with that, she and her mother headed to Main. Although Facchin’s father closed the West Broadway location soon after, the Main Street shop continues to thrive. “West Broadway was more of a destination,” Facchin says, comparing it to Main’s foot traffic. “But we still get a lot of the West Broadway customers coming in and looking for things they ate 12 years ago. It’s really funny to see that people remember.”
Much of the food has changed since the early days, and Facchin and her mother are constantly evolving the menu, working together to master the arts of sweet and savoury. “Mistakes in the kitchen often lead to positive things,” she says, noting that it was how she and her mother were able to create their magnificent bread pudding.
With a structure in place and still plenty of room for creativity, Facchin is ready to build upon her foundation. Since setting up shop eight years ago, the hidden gem on Main Street is anticipating a new look, with renovations expected for spring 2018. Countertops will be installed and a new espresso machine, along with a revitalized coffee program, will kick off the transformation.
Though still incredibly young, Facchin has years of experience behind her, and she is excited for what’s to come. “It feels like for the first time, I kind of know what I’m doing,” she says with a spark of confidence. “I’m figuring it out. It’s nice to get to that point where you’re comfortable and feeling solid.” Her eyes are set on the future of Coco, yet her family’s legacy remains the root of each move she makes.