Soulfood relocating to historic Baker Hotel this fall

Building will also breathe new life into downtown Cranbrook with high-quality monthly and nightly rental units

Greg Eaton, Tamara Mercandelli, Caitlin Berkhiem and Christel Hagn, outside Cranbrook’s Historic Baker Hotel.

Greg Eaton, Tamara Mercandelli, Caitlin Berkhiem and Christel Hagn, outside Cranbrook’s Historic Baker Hotel. — Photo courtesy Soulfood

This fall Soulfood will be moving to Cranbrook’s historic Baker Hotel, located on the corner of Baker Street and 11th Ave., downtown Cranbrook.

The building was recently acquired by Greg Eaton of Eaton Properties, who will lease the entire lower floor to Soulfood while re-inventing the second and third levels into 30 rooms with kitchenettes for nightly and monthly rentals.

“I have an appreciation for historical buildings and believe in supporting local business and revitalizing the downtown core,” said Greg Eaton, Eaton Properties. “And I had been looking for an opportunity to do just that within the Cranbrook community. I also know we have a shortage of residential rentals across the board. The Baker Hotel has been sitting for years partly vacant and underutilized. We’re going to bring it up to modern standards and make it an exciting, relevant and vibrant part of our community once more. The building has great bones and Soulfood is exactly what we wanted for the space downstairs.”

Co-owners of Soulfood, Tamara Mercandelli, Caitlin Berkhiem and Christel Hagn, are eagerly anticipating the move, and said it will allow Soulfood to become what they have always intended at a time when it is very much needed.

“Our current location has reached its capacity,” said Mercandelli. “We don’t currently have a commercial kitchen and although we have made it work by being very creative with our menu design and cooking methods, the constricted space and limitations on cooking doesn’t allow us to grow into what we truly want to be. When we were approached by Greg to lease space in the Baker Hotel, it was quite literally a dream come to fruition.”

In the new location Soulfood plans to highlight their gourmet coffee bar, as well as their organic wine and craft cocktail bar, both of which will become focal points in the new space. They will also enhance and expand their farm-to-table casual gourmet entrees and restaurant operations. The space will enable Soulfood to grow their ‘Grab & Go’ cafe and eventually host a community co-op market, where a variety of ethically-produced local products will be sold on behalf of local farmers, food producers, artisans, and other small like-minded business owners.

The Baker Hotel is situated at one of the busiest intersections in downtown Cranbrook. Soulfood’s current atmosphere will be transported into the new space, which will be filled with comfortable and intimate places for quiet conversations, as well as cozy spaces for families, events, and larger groups. Soulfood will continue to be a venue for live music with an increased ability to host performers.

“We started this journey with a desire to spark change in Cranbrook and bring together the community in a place and in a way that had not been done before,” Mercandelli. “We wanted to breathe life into downtown with music, art, food, and conversation. We wanted to support performers and artists, causes and charities, farmers and ranchers, organic food producers and local artisans. Our goal was to give people peace of mind knowing they are about to eat good, clean, kind food acquired through the absolute best organic and local options we have available to us in the East Kootenay.

“We’ve done that. And we know Soulfood has evolved into a viable, vibrant business that can be confidently taken to the next level.”

Soulfood plans to relocate to the Baker Hotel this October. Eaton will officially take possession of the building at the end of July and begin renovations on the residential units, most of which will be rented out quickly. Eaton states the self-contained units will soon become cozy, up-to-date spaces perfect for students, retirees, or business professionals already working downtown. Anyone interested in monthly rentals can email Eaton at [email protected].

“Our plan is to completely remodel one or two units at a time over the next two or three years. The building will be transformed into a vibrant and beautiful living space that will start something new, positive and lively for our downtown core,” said Eaton. “I am so excited for Soulfood and what they are bringing to Cranbrook; it has been good for my own soul to be able to facilitate this next step for the restaurant.  I truly believe this will be a symbiotic relationship -- I know I will get great tenants living upstairs because of Soulfood, and I know that many of those tenants will be eating and drinking at Soulfood. This will be amazing.”

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