Inside Wild Coffee Co., behind a bar, an artistic rendering features two grizzly bear positioned on their hind legs snarling at each other. Walls have been painted a deep rich green accented by natural wood, while the cafe’s logo features a tree.
Wild, a new coffee shop in downtown Whitefish, is a new concept by Sam Dauenhauer and Marissa Keenan, the husband and wife team that created Sweet Peaks Ice Cream. The couple is looking to serve quality coffee and food by creating a cafe with a community environment, while also giving back to those that support the wild places surrounding Whitefish.
“We really wanted to be part of holding up the south end of town as it further develops and help direct what happens here,” Keenan said. “We wanted to create a value-added business for the community and downtown.”
The cafe opened last month on the southern portion of Central Avenue inside a recently constructed mixed-use building with other businesses and vacation rentals on the upper floors.
The menu has both classic and creative espresso and tea drinks as well as other beverage options, along with quick salads and soups and to-go snacks. The coffee is sourced through the Montana Coffee Traders Roastery with an espresso blend created specifically for Wild, and the pastries are made by Ceres Bakery featuring handmade biscuits produced exclusively for Wild and served with a variety of biscuit sandwich options.
“We decided it made sense to work with Coffee Traders and create an avenue to showcase their beans because they have the experience,” she said. “Ceres Bakery creates an incredible product and this is another chance for it to be in Whitefish. It’s awesome to have collaboration — we want to take what they do best and put it in this great platform.”
Dauenhauer and Keenan spent a lot of time tasting coffee to create a blend for the shop’s espresso. They also were excited to bring pour-over coffee to Whitefish by including a Seraphim Pour Over Coffee Bar in the cafe. Pour-over coffee is batch brewing that features single bean coffee brewed by pouring a slow stream of hot water over the grounds, allowing for the extraction of a cup of coffee showcasing flavors in a way other brewing methods don’t. The cafe features three different beans at a time, which will be rotated seasonally allowing customers to experience many kinds of beans from different locations.
Keenan likens pour-over coffee to wine tasting — different types of beans brings out different flavor profiles.
“It’s really a way to get the chance to try coffees from all over the world. It really creates a personal experience,” Keenan said. “There’s a variety of beans from different regions that have different flavors, and some that people haven’t seen before. We will rotate them, but we also want to have them here long enough to give people an opportunity to taste them.”
Wild Coffee Co. will dedicate 1 percent of its profits to local nonprofits that focus on stewardship of public lands. The first organization to partner with the shop is Glacier National Park Conservancy, the official fundraising partner of Glacier National Park.
“When we started to look at how we could give back through the business we wanted to focus on giving to those that support our shared loved of the outdoors,” Keenan said.
In addition, the drip coffee served at Wild is Montana Coffee Traders’ Trailblazer blend, with a portion of the proceeds from the blend going to the conservancy.
Dauenhauer and Keenan opened Sweet Peaks in Whitefish nine years ago following their passion for ice cream and have since expanded to include shops in six additional cities. Keenan said she’s a believer in creating a business based upon what you love, and supporting the community, which is how they found themselves opening a cafe.
“When we travel we always think about how something would fit in Whitefish,” she said. “We like to do what we like — we liked ice cream and that’s where the idea came for Sweat Peaks. We wanted to create another environment where the community could gather.”
Wild Coffee Co. is open every day from 6:30 a.m. until 9 p.m. for the spring season. For more information, call 730-2833 visit https://www.wildcoffeecompanymt.com/