New coffee shop brings Montana-roasted beans to Baker Avenue

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Matt Pollard owns Folklore Coffee on Baker Avenue. (Daniel McKay/Whitefish Pilot)

At Folklore Coffee, the focus is as much about the atmosphere as it is the brew.

Folklore is located on Baker Avenue next to Culver Careers just south of the Second Street intersection. The coffee shop will opened its doors on Friday.

Matt Pollard opened Folklore as a sister-café to the original Folklore Coffee, started by his brother Andy in Conrad four years ago.

Pollard said he approached his brother to pitch the Whitefish location just as his brother was considering the same idea.

“It was funny, when I pitched the idea to my brother he had been talking to his wife about, ‘Whitefish could use an upscale coffee shop.’ With the Red Caboose closing, it was kind of the one upscale coffee shop in the area, and for a town that expands to 14,000 to 15,000 people nine months a year, it could use more than one brick and mortar location.”

Pollard said the original Folklore came to be after his brother took the time to travel around the world and learn about best practices for coffee roasting.

“The cool thing about my brother and Folklore is that we’re also Montana roasters, and there aren’t a whole lot of those around. He roasts all his own beans. He traveled around learning about the history of coffee and where to get the best coffee beans for roasting, he gets them now from Ethiopia, Guatemala, Brazil — all over the place. I think more than anything we celebrate the coffee itself,” he says.

The menu features standard hot coffee and espresso beverages, like lattes, Americanos and cappuccinos, in addition to tea and smoothies. Bonjour Bakery and Bistro of Kalispell will provide food at the coffee shop.

Since moving into the space in October, Pollard said he’s put plenty of work into making a coffee shop. The café features tables, workspaces and a reading couch, all surrounded by the works of local Montana artists.

Pollard says the space is all about allowing customers to relax and enjoy themselves.

“It’s also just a comfy atmosphere to sit and enjoy it, not just a hustle-bustle, run in and grab a coffee and leave [sort of thing],” he said. “If you want to come in, read a book on the couch and sit by the fire, you can do that. If you want to sit on the benches and work and post up for three or four hours to work remotely, you can do that too. It’s a laid-back atmosphere.”

This is a contrast to the Conrad location, he says, which is more about getting the farmers and ranchers their coffee in a quick, economical way.

The differences between the two locations are as much a reflection of the men in charge as they are the cities they’re in, Pollard said.

“We’re very different. He serves a farming and ranching community where they basically want their coffee and want to go. And my brother’s very minimalistic, so there’s not much on the walls,” he said. “Here it’s about the coffee, but also wanting people to enjoy the space and sit and relax.”

For more information, visit https://www.facebook.com/folklorewhitefish/.

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