The Griff

Study spot: District Moto

Study spot

Study spot: District Moto

Mamma mia!

This spin-off Italian café and motor shop has history with Edmonton since 1927 and it’s right across 107th street.

District Moto opened this past July and is both a café and Vespa dealer. Walking in, you’re greeted with a 1950s and ‘60s vibe, with shiny, new Vespas stationed in a row and 1953 film classic Roman Holiday plays along a wall with famous star, Audrey Hepburn.

“We’re going for the vintage Italian — we want comfort,” says Matt Trodden, District Moto’s manager. “It’s comfortable, it’s cozy, we’ve got the classic record player” along with a café and an assortment of jackets, backpacks and of course, Vespas, Piaggios, and Wi- Bikes for sale.

Successfully merging a motor store and café, the store also plans to host symposiums.

“We’re going to be doing events, whether that’s a wine tasting, a scotch tasting, or different art or craft skill acquiring classes. One (event) we’re trying to structure is getting people to learn to arm knit their own scarves; it’s a pretty cool thing. You can make your own infinity scarf in the course of 45 minutes to an hour-long class,” says Trodden.

While refining Edmontonians’ palates with wine or scotch and educating them in arm knitting is enough of an undertaking, District Moto also wants to go a step further and support Edmonton’s local artists.

“We’re working to fill up our walls with local artists, (but) we’re still tracking some of that down. We’ll be selling the art off the walls regularly — anything we think works and fits, we can find the space for,” says Trodden.

The café is also a great place for trying a variety of beverages. It offers an eclectic mixture of drinks, and the pistachio latte is one of District Moto’s features. They branch out with the seasons too, offering an abundance of lattes to fit the time of year. If you need a bite to eat as well, the café offers sandwiches made from the Italian Centre Shop which are available in mild or spicy. Although the sandwiches don’t come in a wide range, they are tasty and fresh!

District Moto wants to accommodate students every way they can for a comfortable  study atmosphere.

“We’re open to hearing from people and what they’re looking for,” Trodden says. And to all the students who are running late for a class but are in desperate need of coffee, District Moto has a great idea called Brew on Tap.

With a line of coffee pots (using locally roasted beans) with options of cream and sugar, patrons use a tap pad next to each coffee pot, so if you’re racing to catch the bus or leaping off it to make class on time, and really need that cup of caffeine, Brew on Tap is a quick pour and tap to get your coffee fix.

If you’re interested in biking (motorized or partly motorized), Alberta Cycle (the founder of District Moto) and District Moto are Northern Alberta’s exclusive Vespa dealers.

“Piaggio is the founding company of Vespa, they’ve always been the founding company, right out of the gate. Vespa (is) still made in Italy with all the modern technology but still keeps that classic, retro charm.”

If you’re worried about driving motorized bikes in Alberta weather, you can shelve it with your pool floaty. The tires are durable in snow, but if “there’s a couple feet of snow, it’s best not to take it out that day,” joked Trodden.

“We live in a seasonal city. It means for six months a year we get to enjoy one thing and for (the other) six months a year we get to enjoy other (hobbies), whether that’s golf memberships in the summer or spending money in the winter on lift tickets. If (riding Vespas) is something that makes you smile … then it ends up being a pretty good endeavor,” Trodden says.

Vespas, Piaggios and Wi-bikes are ordered from Italy, assembled when delivered, displayed, and then sold. Renting will soon be an option for the Vespas and Wi- bikes.


TO TRY

The Mild Panino sandwich is a delight for taste buds! With just the right amount of spiciness, this feast is made from the Italian Centre Shop in Edmonton. And if the spice isn’t up to your standard, try the Hot Panino to feel the burn. 


TO DRINK

The white chocolate latte is a delight during the cold, snowy weather. Rather than choosing the typical vanilla latte, opt for the creamier option and enjoy this chocolaty drink.

Almond milk is also used as a substitute for those with lactose intolerance.


District Moto

#143 10309 107 St NW Mon — Fri.: 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.


Photography by Nikita Case.