As any world traveller knows, Europeans know how to do cafés and bakeries.
They are more than a place to grab a coffee and a quick bite. They are part of the culture.
Gabor and Csilla Dudas hope to give Red Deer a little taste of Europe mixed with a Canadian vibe at their newly opened Chill Out Café and Bakery at 4919 Ross Street.
“I had an image about this place. I wanted it to be European style,” said Csilla, who emigrated to Canada from Budapest, Hungary with Gabor and their son three years ago.
“The main idea is a (mix) of the Canadian taste and the European taste.”
The name is a play on Csilla’s name, which is pronounced Chilla. But it also evokes the laid-back atmosphere the couple want to create in the heart of Red Deer.
“I wanted something that felt nice, but was also a chilling-out and a meeting place for people downtown where they can relax and let their mind go,” said Csilla.
The café takes up one side of the restaurant and features tables, window and wall benches and stools, and a couch and TV in the back corner for those looking to sink into a comfortable seat and let their troubles disappear.
The bakery side showcases their wide range of baked goods, freshly made that morning.
Gabor starts his shift at 3 a.m. and begins creating the stuffed croissants, cheese and chocolate croissants, danishes, muffins, strudel, sausage rolls, breads, buns, numerous kinds of pretzels, cakes, including a cottage cheese and peach cake recipe imported from Hungary that few will likely have tasted here. Vegetarian versions of many dishes are available and more will be added.
The modestly priced lunch and dinner menus feature ribs, subs, hot wings, fish and chips, chicken fingers, chili and an authentic Hungarian goulash among other items.
They open at 6:30 a.m. to cater to the early-morning breakfast crowd and the doors stay open until 10 p.m. to give evening wanderers a place to stop.
Chill Out has only been open since Dec. 30 and the number of diners is exceeding their expectations and there’s plenty of traffic on their Facebook page.
The couple drew upon their experience running a wholesale business providing baked goods, pastries, confectionery, sandwiches and cold plates in Hungary.
They first lived and worked in Jasper but it was too small to establish another bakery. They considered Edmonton and Calgary but wanted a smaller city.
“So we chose the middle way,” said Csilla with a laugh, adding they moved to Red Deer last June.
Gabor said their inspiration was to bring their European baking background and its emphasis on fresh, natural ingredients and tasty foods to Central Alberta.
“We just want to keep the quality. That is the goal,” he said.
Chill Out Café and Bakery is open Monday to Friday from 6:30 a.m. to 10 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Sunday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
For more information go to: www.chilloutcafeandbakery.com.