Coffee returns to Square Edge but coffee remains for sale

Jo Costello flies solo as sole barista for Coffee Royale at Square Edge Arts Center

DAVID UNWIN / Stuff

Jo Costello flies solo as sole barista for Coffee Royale at Square Edge Arts Center

Palmerston North’s beloved cafe, Cafe Royale, has reopened. Kind of.

The cafe now operates as the pop-up Coffee Royale kiosk for a few hours in the mornings Tuesday through Saturday.

Although there are still tables and chairs outside, the café will be closed and the food Café Royale was selling will not be available.

Barista Jo Costello said she raised her hand for the coffee to flow at Square Edge.

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“I’ve worked here for almost two years and got to know the community, the people really well.

“Since we closed it’s been a huge toll on the gallery and the stores so I spoke to my boss Robert [Winters] and he lets me continue to make coffees with his machine.

The rebranding was intentional to reflect the company’s downsizing, but the cafe is still in the hands of the owner of Cafe Royale, who stepped down in February due to chronic illness.

The coffee is still on the market and waiting for a buyer. For Costello and Winters, they hope an operational cafe will make it a more attractive prospect for a potential buyer.

The Coffee Royale logo is clearly derived from the old Cafe Royale which occupied the space before.

DAVID UNWIN / Stuff

The Coffee Royale logo is clearly derived from the old Cafe Royale which occupied the space before.

Behind the serious practicalities of the situation, there is a passion driven by a love for the community.

“It doesn’t have to be a huge hit,” Costello said. “We’re just trying to bring the community back, so people can meet here and have coffee.”

Who the cafe is sold to and how long it will take until a full reopening remains to be seen.

But what is clear is that Square Edge customers and business owners will be able to get a cup of the hot brew they enjoyed for so long when Café Royale was an arts center staple.

The Café Royale is open from 8 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., Tuesday to Saturday.

Laura J. Boyer