First Look: Saint-Germain Café and Gallery in Penticton

Owners Brigitte and Stephano Liapis at their Saint-Germain Café. Photo by Scott Trudeau

When the owners of Saint-Germain Café and Gallery set up shop they aimed to create a cultural marriage of European art and coffee. Brigitte and Stephano Liapis combined Brigitte’s experience as an artist and working in art galleries with Stephano’s family history in the Vancouver restaurant scene, setting up shop last May in Penticton at 102-449 Main St.


The café’s name is in memory of the French neighbourhoods frequented while they were living in Paris – areas bustling with galleries, museums and coffee shops. “We wanted to do the same thing here, but in a modern, European style,” said Stephano, noting their name also refers to the Count of Saint Germain, an enchanting, 18th-century historical figure. “He was a supporter and booster of the arts and we wanted to align ourselves with that name.”


They serve fair trade coffee, fresh pastries and muffins plus soup, salads and baguettes, most of it prepared by Stephano. In the rear section hangs a variety of colourful contemporary paintings. The majority of their clientele comes in for a coffee and a bite to eat, though Brigitte underlined that, “we are a café within an art gallery,” as evidenced by the brilliant lighting and white-coloured walls.


Because his parents ran pizzerias and Greek restaurants, Stephano grew up around a variety of food styles. They married in 2005 and moved to Europe in 2007, where Stephano taught English and Brigitte worked in a London art gallery. They returned to Vancouver a couple of years ago, moved to Penticton in March and opened their business in May. “We had a lot of childhood memories here,” they said of the South Okanagan. “It kind of reminds us of Europe, the dry and rugged terrain.” More than seven months into their endeavour, they’re feeling good about their chosen paths. “In doing this we really worked to find a way that we could be working at everything we knew we loved,” said Brigitte. “This seemed obvious.” —by Scott Trudeau


Hours of operation are Mondays to Fridays, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and closed Sundays.

(250) 492-0060

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