Rhino Coffee House
Rhino Coffee House is a welcome new addition to Langford’s expanding cafe scene. Having opened just this year, the light-filled space on Peatt Avenue has already become something of a community hub. Tasting Victoria visited mid-morning on a Wednesday to find it surprisingly bustling – filled with locals enjoying meals, sipping coffees, and typing away on laptops. It has clearly filled a niche that Westshore residents were missing.
I sat down with owner Courtney Ohs and manager Jessica Parkin to talk about how they became interested in the coffee business, how things are going so far, and their big plans for the future.
An inspired idea
The more Langford grows, the more obvious it becomes that certain industries are lacking. It only takes a bit of ingenuity and an entrepreneurial spirit to capitalize on those gaps. For Courtney and her husband, the moment of inspiration came when they were driving from Langford to Sidney to buy doughnuts. At some point in the nearly 90 minute round-trip drive, says Courtney, “we realized we really needed access to good fresh doughnuts locally in Langford.”
Many of us probably would have that thought and immediately followed it up with, “I hope someone opens a doughnut shop in Langford.” But Courtney and her husband, established business owners who already operate a popular local yoga studio, instead decided to take action.
The Rhino Coffee connection
They sent off a spontaneous email to Duane Bell, owner of Rhino Coffee House in Tofino. They introduced themselves, said they’d love to grow his brand, and to their surprise, he quickly responded with enthusiasm. And that was that, says Courtney. “Fast forward almost a year, with many business trips up to Tofino, long days and nights of hard work, and a vision we weren’t going to let go of, and then Rhino Langford was born!”
The connection with Tofino’s Rhino Coffee is a clever idea. By partnering with an established brand, they capitalized on already established customer loyalty and name recognition, as well as menus and design elements. And the connection isn’t just aesthetic, Rhino Coffee Langford uses exclusively Rhino coffee beans, still roasted by Duane by hand in Tofino.
In Duane, Courtney found the ideal partner – willing to share his expertise in the coffee industry, but also willing to allow complete creative freedom. This is not a franchise. Rhino Coffee House Langford has big dreams and is free to pursue them.
Coffee house and lounge
What makes Rhino Coffee House unique in Lanford – and honestly, anywhere in Greater Victoria – is their designation as a coffee house and lounge. It was while traveling in Europe that Courtney and her husband were struck by the popularity of day-to-night coffee bars. At these hip places, you could enjoy a coffee and baked goods in the morning and return at night for a cocktail and dinner. They wondered why the concept wasn’t common in Canada, theorizing that it would be an excellent way to cater to a ray of customers.
Rhino Langford was developed with this concept in mind, explains Courtney. “When we decided to open Rhino Coffee House Langford, we knew we wanted to incorporate a lounge atmosphere with some late night options. By day you may come by for a work meeting, or a place for students to study, and by night you’ll be having an after work cocktail or gathering with friends!”
What to enjoy on your visit
Both the coffee and food at Rhino have been garnering praise since opening day. The coffee is freshly roasted and delivered regularly from Tofino, and all the food and donuts are made in house daily. So you really can’t go wrong.
But Courtney has some suggestions for first time visitors. For coffee, she says “our Dark Roast bean is a favourite of many of our customers. If you are looking for something a bit more fancy, we suggest you try our Matcha Chai Latte.” And when it comes to food, “We would recommend the Maple Bacon or Apple Fritter Donut, our famous “Bronut” breakfast sandwich, or a philly cheesesteak for lunch.”
No surprise to anyone who’s read this far, Courtney isn’t one to rest on her laurels. Now that Rhino Coffee House Langford is up and running, and already finding success, she is already making plans for the future.
Up first will be the addition of later hours, coupled with an evening menu and a liquor licence. And come summer, you can also expect to find abundant patio seating.
But that is only the beginning, says Courtney. She tells me they hope to expand to more locations, with a focus on towns that have the same fun, touristy vibe as Tofino. “Our hopes for the future are to see many more Rhino Coffee House’s opening across Canada and maybe even the US. We believe we have a solid brand that has the opportunity to reach many communities!”
Rhino is currently open seven days a week, from 7 – 4 on weekdays and 8 – 4 on the weekends.
Rhino Coffee House Langford
840 Peatt Rd.