Life can get hectic, there’s no way around it. Even in little, old Castlegar we have traffic congestion, work-related stress, bills to worry about, and so on. So it’s definitely nice to take a break from the worries and have a nice cup of java and a snack. When it’s time for that break, few places in town can beat Bagels and Brew for a nice, relaxing atmosphere and healthy menu.
Bagels and Brew, located at #9 1501 Columbia next to Boston Pizza, is owned by Maria and James McFadden who have owned the store for six years.
“We moved back from Winnipeg and I had worked in this industry since I was 14, so I knew what it was all about, and it was for sale,” said Maria. “We both love people, people are a big part of our life, so it seemed like a good way to get to know the community.”
Maria grew up in Castlegar before moving off to the University of Winnipeg where she met her soon-to-be husband, James.
“We lived in Winnipeg for three years before coming back,” said Maria.
Bagels and Brew is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner and offers plenty of healthy, home-made options.
The home-made touch is what sets Bagels and Brews apart and makes the coffee shop a popular destination for both locals and visitors alike.
“We have lots of healthy food. Everything here is home-made right from scratch – all the baking and all that,” said Maria. “I make my own bagels and muffins in the morning. All the salads and soups and cream cheeses, I make on site.”
Maria and her staff at Bagels and Brew are also adding new items to the menu.
“We’ve just started up our gluten-free menu,” said Maria. “It seems to be a growing thing that people want. Due to allergies, people have been asking for it.”
The Bagels and Brew menu has many items that are popular among cafe-goers. “Grilled wraps are some of our most popular items for lunch,” said Maria. “Caramel apples are a big hit. They’re pretty hard to find around these parts. Our home-made quiches are quite popular. We also make our own ice-tea and they’re popular as well.”
James is a part-time youth pastor and works with at-risk boys.
“We work with teenagers in town. A lot of them with rougher backgrounds,” said Maria. “We use this as an avenue to teach them some job skills. Some don’t have food at home, so we feed them in exchange for, say, sweeping the floor or helping with dishes.”
Bagels and Brew also has an open mic night on Wednesdays for anyone that wants to get up on stage and perform.
The McFaddens, who have two young girls, love the mountains and the outdoor life that living in the Kootenays allows.
“We do a lot of climbing with our kids and the teenagers we work with,” said Maria. “It really teaches them respect for the environment and communication. We do a lot of rock climbing and hiking. We’re really glad to be back in the area.”