Ever since Jen Lindstrand was a child, she dreamed of opening a cafe. “I had a little journal that I would write ideas in all the way through high school and university,” said Lindstrand.
Over time, her visions changed, but the interest was always to serve and care for people. “I wanted to see people come together for events, discourse, good music, and to create connections with each other.”
Three years ago, Lindstrand started to make her dream a reality when she purchased the historic 100-year-old house where FIKA is now located. The house has a unique history in Camrose as it was previously the Ruffington House, a popular artisanal gift shop. Later it became a tea house, and then it went back to residential living in 2006.
Many of FIKA’s characteristics were inspired by Lindstrand’s grandparents. “I spent a lot of time at their farm and out on the land,” said Lindstrand. “For me, that’s really where the whole idea of coming together over good food and drink to share stories became part of the inspiration.”
“Fika” is a Swedish word used to describe taking a break during the day. “I had other names picked out, but I wanted something that really embodied the feeling of what we’re going for,” said Lindstrand. “My family is Swedish and this is part of our culture. It’s the idea of coming together and slowing down.”
With walls painted in warm yellow, the decor and design of FIKA boasts an array of antique furniture, succulents, vintage themes, and eclectic artwork. Lindstrand said she has been collecting items for years.
“My aunt and uncle got the church pew from Ohaton United Church. I have my grandma’s tables and chairs in the back room, and my sister-in-law’s grandma’s couch,” said Lindstrand. “There’s a lot of pieces that have been gifted to me or that I’ve inherited.”
FIKA sources local coffee from Roasti Coffee Co. based in Sherwood Park and aims to make everything from scratch. Lindstrand said she wants to be creative with menu items.
“Waffles are something you would have over ‘fika’. They are simple, quick, filling, and nourishing,” said Lindstrand. “We use the same base and we play around with different ideas. Like with our gingerbread waffles, for example, we use spices and molasses to make them dense and rich.”
FIKA also serves grilled cheese, deli plates, breakfast sandwiches, and baked goods based on family recipes. “I love grilled cheese sandwiches, so we find local ingredients to change them up,” said Lindstrand. “The deli plates provide a light option for an individual to snack on or for a group to share.”
Lindstrand said that she thinks FIKA as a great place for students who need a change of scenery. “We’re very close to campus. I think FIKA is conducive for studying or working on papers,” said Lindstrand. “When it’s busy, there are three extra rooms upstairs that are open and available for a quieter space.”
FIKA also offers a 10% discount to students. “We are so fortunate to have a university campus because it brings a richness to our community,” said Lindstrand. “We want to encourage students and clubs to co-host events here.”
“I look around and I see people having great conversations or reading books, this is exactly how it should be,” said Lindstrand. “I am so happy to see people enjoying the space.”