Start Here Penticton: Soe Cafe

World travellers settle in Penticton to open Japanese-inspired café

Tag(s): Living Here, Working Here

There’s a new café in town that invites you to “come slow down, drink some good coffee and listen to records.”

World-travelling husband and wife Ryan Grifone and Thuy Bui met while living in Japan and found that they loved the same things: coffee, wine and music. After a few more stops around the globe, they chose Penticton to make their dream come true and open a Japanese kissa inspired café and listening room. 

Called Soe (pronounced so-eh), the café is located at 285 Westminster Avenue in downtown Penticton.

“Our inspiration comes from our experience hanging out at many jazz kissa in Japan. These coffee and tea houses are places to gather to listen to records. At the heart of these kissa are their owners, passionate music fans and gearheads,” said Ryan. 

Café will transform at night

Ryan and Thuy are looking forward to hosting listening nights where they can play some of their favourite records on their vintage turntables and invite other music lovers to curate their own play lists. 

“We are at the age where we aren’t going to clubs anymore but we still really enjoy music. We want to create a laid-back environment for that.” 

It’s an intimate space that fits around 15 to 20 people. The smaller amount of seating is by design, to provide a gathering spot that is cozy and calming. 

In the evenings, the lights will go low, the records will spin and they will bring out charcuterie boards and bar snacks, focusing on what’s in season. 

They will also be hosting pop ups of all different kinds where they invite guest chefs to take over the kitchen to create locally inspired menus. Smaller case lot wineries will be showcased during intimate wine evenings. 

Their café will have a regular rotation of coffee specially selected for flavours and sustainable practices.

Celebrating and supporting local

They are focusing on as much organic as possible and supporting smaller local producers, farmers, wine makers and bakers. Almost everything in the café is made or created in B.C. 

They purchase from Puzzlegrass Farms in Naramata, and get their baked goods made by Heather Jeffreys of Handful. The organic milk comes from Grass Root Dairies in Salmon Arm. Their current selection of coffee comes from Bows coffee roasters in Victoria.

So why choose Penticton?

“Penticton has a nice vibe to it. It’s more laidback than Kelowna and people are really community-minded here,” said Ryan, who has been working in Penticton’s wine industry for the past couple years.

“We find it to be a really unique town. For us, it’s the first smaller town we’ve lived in. It feels good to be close to nature. There is so much open space. We love the slower living here,” said Thuy.

The pair found opening a business in Penticton to be a good experience.

“The City has been really supportive,” said Thuy. 

“It was easy to get our permits quickly and any questions we had were answered right away,” said Ryan. 

Since opening, the couple have been welcomed by both residents and the business community.

“There wasn’t a gathering place like this or any wine bars here so we saw an opportunity to share the things we love like good coffee, wine and music with the community,” they said.

Soe Café is open Thursday – Monday 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Follow them on Instagram at Soe Café.

Penticton’s café collective

There are many coffee shops in Penticton, all with their own niche and specialities. Here’s a list in alphabetical order of places to grab a drink and something delicious to eat. 

Accent Chocolate – 536 Main St.
The Bench Market – 368 Vancouver Ave.
Blenz in Penticton – 2- 284 Main St. and Cherry Lane Shopping Centre
Gratify - 544 Main St.
Honey Toast – 66 Front St.
Maison Mulnati - 221 Main St.
One14 Coffee Co – 1475 Fairview Rd. in the historic Cannery Centre
Prague Café – 250 Marina Way
Second Cup – 2904 Skaha Lake Rd. 
Stillfood Bistro and Cappuccino Bar - 75 Front St.
Socialé On Lakeshore – 950 Lakeshore Dr.
Wayne & Freda – 105-249 Westminster Ave.

Did we miss your favourite spot? Email us to add it to this list! 




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