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The Mercantile, a 25th Street collaboration, honors the old with something new

By Valerie Phillips - Special to the Standard-Examiner | Mar 20, 2024
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Nick Morris and Lance Smith of Kaffe Mercantile and Kim Bowsher of Roosters on an original bench seat from the old Greyhound bus station.
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A charcuterie board at The Mercantile on Historic 25th Street in Ogden.
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A Reuben sandwich and tomato soup at The Mercantile on Historic 25th Street in Ogden.
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The Kaffe Salad at The Mercantile on Historic 25th Street in Ogden.

A trio of local food and beverage brands is giving a new life to the old Union Bus Depot building on Historic 25th Street.

Roosters Hospitality Group, Kaffe Mercantile and Beehive Cheese are collaborating on The Mercantile Market and Eatery. The cafe percolates with coffee drinks, brunch toasts and scrambles, soups and salads. Patrons might also share a charcuterie board over a glass of beer or wine.

The menu has a heavy focus on local products, and customers can buy some of those products to take home.

The remodeled space honors the building’s history with an original seat from the old bus station that was donated to the cafe. It’s been reupholstered and is displayed prominently.

“This building has been such an anchor piece in the community and the town has wanted something to work out here,” said Kim Bowsher, chief executive officer of Rooster Hospitality Group, which spearheaded the collaboration.

She stressed that it’s not another Roosters brewpub, which already has a location on 25th Street, or any other Roosters enterprise.

“It’s so different from every other concept,” Bowsher said.

The Union bus depot was built on the corner of Grant Avenue and 25th Street in 1940 and later became a Greyhound bus station. After the station closed in the 1990s, businesses such as The Imaging Depot and Sabores de Mexico Restaurant came and went.

It was vacant when Roosters Hospitality Group, comprising Roosters Brewing Co., Union Grill and The Coop, bought the building in February 2021. The company’s administrative offices take up the back half of the building.

“We bought the Depot building so we could house all of our administrative offices for payroll, human resources and marketing,” said partner Kym Buttschardt, Roosters co-owner. “But knowing that 25th Street needs life and not just office spaces, we wanted to make something really cool out of the front of this building. We knew immediately who we wanted to ask to join us in making something super special down here.”

Nick Morris of Kaffe Mercantile said he had been eyeing the empty Depot building while helping with the downtown Christmas Village parade and thought it would be a great place for a coffee shop. To his surprise, Buttschardt called him four days later, told him the opportunity had come up to buy the building, and asked if he and his partner Lance Smith would be interested in doing a coffee shop.

“We just feel like the kids that got picked for the team,” said Smith in a press release. “We’re so excited to be in with the cool kids, we just love Beehive and Roosters so much. It’s an honor to get to do this all together.”

Roosters already had a relationship with the award-winning Beehive Cheese of Uintah, as Kym and Pete Buttschardt have used the artisan cheddar in their restaurant menus for years. The creamery closed down its retail shop a few years ago, but fans of Barely Buzzed, Seahive, Teahive and other cheeses can now buy them at The Mercantile.

“We are excited to establish our flagship retail presence on Historic 25th Street,” said Britton Welsh, president of Beehive Cheese. “Our motto is ‘making friends with cheese,’ and The Mercantile project is the brainchild of the great friends we have made through our adventures in cheese.”

Bringing three very different brands together on an untried project can be challenging. But Bowsher said the group worked well together, using the skills and strengths of each brand.

“Bizarrely, our biggest argument was whether to have french fries on the menu,” Bowsher said. “So that’s pretty good.” (French fries are not on the current menu; someone apparently lost that argument.)

Morris and Smith run the day-to-day operations. Welsh is in charge of retail and financial management, and Bowsher oversees marketing and events.

Roosters co-owner Peter Buttschardt and corporate chef Matthew Lake influenced menu development, kitchen design and training, Bowsher said.

Deciding on a name was another challenge.

“There was a thought to call it The Depot, but we realized it would cause confusion with Union Station, The Depot in Salt Lake City and even Home Depot, which comes up in online searches,” Bowsher said. “And, we wanted to convey that it’s a retail space.”

The coffee comes from Caffe Ibis, a roaster based in Logan, and a seasonal menu board lists featured drinks, including the Kaffe Mercantile’s signature “chillers,” a blended cold coffee.

“We make a lot of lattes,” Morris said. “When we started at Kaffe Mercantile and did some training up at Caffe Ibis’ roasting plant, we were advised to always go for quality first. We are very faithful to our milk, which comes from Rosehill Dairy in Morgan.”

So far, customer menu favorites include the Sunrise Toast (avocado, tomato, Beehive shredded cheese, boiled egg and Cholula hot sauce) and the Med Toast of hummus, cucumber and tomato, flavored with Za’atar (Middle Eastern) spices. With the cold weather, the grilled cheese sandwich/tomato soup combo is popular. The Chunky Grilled Reuben sandwich features marbled rye bread, thin-sliced corned beef and sauerkraut, slathered with Thousand Island dressing. It comes with a choice of soup, petite salad or chips.

Bowsher’s personal favorites are the Breakfast Scramble (two eggs with spinach, peppers, Beehive Cheese, potatoes and warm tomatillo sauce) and the Kaffe Salad (roasted vegetables, cucumbers, tomatoes, mixed greens, blue cheese crumbles and creamy vinaigrette dressing).

One of Morris’ favorites is the O-Town Toast, layered with avocado, tomato, cream cheese and raspberry jalapeno jam.

The south side of the coffee shop has a patio. Bowsher said as the weather gets warmer, the cafe will use it to host beer and cheese pairings, wine and cheese education, mini music festivals and other gatherings. The website, https://www.themercantile25.com, will post upcoming events.


The Mercantile

Location: 2501 Grant Ave., Ogden

Contact: https://www.themercantile25.com or 801-648-4664

Prices: $6-$18

Hours: 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday-Thursday; 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday; 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday. Currently closed on Sunday, but plans are to expand to Sunday hours within the next month.


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