Tourists and day visitors to Petty Harbour now have a new place to stop in before they hit the Mini Aquarium or after a great meal at Chafe’s Landing.

The waterShed opened in late June, offering a spot to have a snack or a cup of great coffee while enjoying the town’s famously great views.

Owner Karen Cimer owned a house in Petty Harbour for three years, and though she’s now living in downtown St. John’s she remains enthusiastic about what Petty Harbour has to offer to both residents and visitors.

Untitlddddded-3“We could just see all of the tourists coming around here. It’s the most beautiful community ever,” she said. “I thought ‘They need to stay here a little longer and linger over a coffee.’”

Tourists and locals alike now have that option with the waterShed, which offers local baking (the chocolate chip cookies might be the best in town; not too sweet + the perfect chewiness), espresso drinks, sandwiches, and non-alcoholic beverages like homemade lemonade.

Right now the cafe is open daily from 10 to 4, as well as by chance. The space has a deck with an unbeatable view of the heart of the town and the every day hustle and bustle of the harbour. “That’s the beauty of this area,” Cimer said of the settings around the cafe. “It’s just spectacular.”

Cimer brought in Jon Howse from Fixed Cafe and Bakery to get her and her staff up to speed on the espresso front, building on the four days she spent at the Canadian Barista Academy in Toronto.

“Jon was my initial contact in Newfoundland for this project,” she said. “I wanted someone that was serious about coffee but also could help me with my espresso machine. He’s been a terrific mentor.” His training of their staff paid off – their espressos, coffees, cappuccinos, and lattes are as nice as the cafe itself.

As they continue to get their bearings and grow the business, Cimer credits supporters like Howse, her staff, and her partner Caroline Koenig with providing the support needed to get The waterShed off the ground.

While the cool weather has hampered tourist arrivals somewhat so far, the waterShed sees a lot of families who come by before or after visiting the aquarium. “I really encourage that,” Cimer said, “for people to bring their families.” 

In addition to the expected tourists, the cafe is seeing a local following as well – something that’s very important to Cimer, who recognizes that the space she’s in (a former fishing shed) is one that has traditionally existed for a different purpose in Petty Harbour.

The waterShed’s understated presence in Petty Harbour is intentional, she said, and it’s important to her that the cafe enhances the community, and offers a welcoming space to locals as well as visitors. “We’re getting a lot of wonderful community support.”

In addition to the drinks and baked goods, Cimer also offers a selection of small prints ($50 or less) for sale from local artists like Jennifer Morgan, Todd Chafe, and Janet Davis. She aims to offer accessible Newfoundland and Labrador art for both interested locals and tourists who want to bring a piece of the island home.

The waterShed is also available for events, music coffeehouse nights, alternate space for festivals, informal private dinners, and other private bookings. Cafe hours beyond the summer aren’t yet set, Cimer said, and she’s open to suggestions for great ways to take advantage of the space. “The backdrop of the harbour and hillside make it an extremely attractive showplace for events and visitors.”

the watershed

Owner Karen Cimer hard at work. Photo by Joel Upshall for The Overcast