Ask Frank Berkers, owner of Bugaboos Bakery and Cafe, to make whipped cream during a thunderstorm and he’ll chuckle— it simply won’t whip! No need for electromagnetic charges; this local entrepreneur bakes up his own storm. Frank has even mastered the art and science of making cream puffs at elevation (Silver Star Village is 1,600 m /5,200 ft. above sea level), thanks to advice from an old pastry chef in the Pyrenees Mountains.
This cheerful ski-in/ski-out coffee shop perched on the corner of Silver Star Village, has been the go-to meeting spot for mountain lovers since 1996. The walls of the European-inspired cafe are adorned with quirky memorabilia and the bright space echoes with laughter. There is even an unofficial stammtisch, an Austrian and Swiss term for “regulars’ table.” Most mornings at Silver Star, you’ll find a motley group of jovial locals huddled around their favourite table, swapping stories about weather, outdoor adventure, and town goings on.
“It’s a place to meet,” says Frank, pointing to the table signs coining this very phrase. “Over the years there are some friendships that have developed with people meeting each other over coffee or a sandwich. And they’re still in contact.”
Aside from offering the “best office views around,” the peppy bakery cafe serves up house-roasted Fair Trade coffee, soups, sandwiches and decadent fresh-baked goods made from all-natural ingredients. Cinnamon buns, banana eclairs, and cream puffs dipped in Belgian chocolate are best-sellers for the sweet tooth, while the ham and brie croissants (made with real butter, of course) are heavenly morsels for the savoury palette.
In the mid-90s, Frank, a formally trained pastry chef who owned his own deli and bakery in The Netherlands, left his home in search of new opportunities in Canada. As soon as he arrived at Silver Star, he knew this is where he wanted to set up shop.
“I walked into the village and [loved] the whole atmosphere—all the colours, and the snow, and the friendliness of the people,” Frank explains gleefully. “We stood there and we didn’t know what to do and people came up to us and asked: ‘Can I help you with something? Do you know where you are?’”
Within days of arriving in town, Frank had enjoyed early-season snowfall, acquired shop space (hotel rooms that would later be renovated), and secured three invitations to Thanksgiving dinner. More than two decades later and he’s not done with the place yet.
Bugaboos still remains in its original space overlooking the Monashee mountains. Fun fact: if you check closely, the steam in the coffee mug door decal lines up perfectly with the mountainscape below.
“I always say if I don’t whistle or sing for a week there’s going to be a for sale sign on the door,” Frank jokes. Evidently that hasn’t happened yet, he says. “It’s a lot of fun.”
Frank and the Bugaboos team are taking a much-needed break after the busy winter season. The cafe will re-open for summer in June 2022. Visit bugaboosbakerycafe.com or follow them on Facebook and Instagram to stay in the know.