What started as a late-night snack culture riff has come true: Doug Stephen and Lindsey Mann (DownLow Chicken) partners with urban streetwear entrepreneur and art collector Zach Wilcox (Future adult), to take the traditional convenience store to the next level with the opening of The Drive Canteen.
La Cantine has been under construction for some time. Whenever the concept has been explained to me over the past year, it has always been described as “like a 7-Eleven, only better.” For me that meant crisps, soda, candy, and an ATM. I was clearly missing something.
When I finally crept in to check out the place earlier this week, I got it. Yes, The Canteen will have convenience store classics like crisps, soda and candy, but they will be very specific versions of typical staples (very particular chips, bags of candy thoughtfully put together to deliver unique flavor profiles and a beverage cooler). There will also be killer gizzies (hot dogs), a spicy nachos made to order situation, sweet service and slushies, as well as chocolate bars and pizza pockets.
To be clear, there is a lot of respect for Dank Mart and Lucky’s floating around the canteen. There may even be some product overlap (don’t be surprised if you see canned Peach Crush, a cup of peanut butter, or a bag of Old Dutch Ketchup chips here). But hot dogs are Two rivers, nacho chips are fresh daily (at DownLow) and the coolest candy bar on these shelves comes straight from the awesome mind of Adam Chandler (Beta5), designed specifically for The Canteen. The vision here is to recreate the snack culture with local options.
As co-owner Doug Stephen explains, âInstead of the usual mass-market brands you can find in traditional convenience stores, we brought in a few of our good friends to help us stock the shelves with. locally made sweetsâ¦ â(think Chemin de Scarlito and Chaotic Good cookies, Jamaican pancakes by Elbo pancakes; Dumplings by Dicky’s dump; DL Chicken spicy dill pickles, lemonade and sweet tea, and dips, spicy kernels and homemade granola bars).
And it does not stop there. La Cantine will be there to satisfy all your nacho fantasies and candy bar cravings, but there will also be art, sneakers, clothing and music.
Sneaker renovator Josh Jose will have an on-site repair shop where he’ll fix cool shoes for his Hysoles display wall (the shoes will have a two-tier pricing system that will offer heavily discounted prices for high school students). There will be art on the walls (a revenue neutral community gallery space is planned for the near future), organized streetwear, and video games (the team is currently looking to brand Street Fighter and Tekken). Teenage Doug, Zach and Lindsey have fun.
The over 1950 square foot take-out retail concept and community center will have indoor benches for 4-6 people and a back patio (picnic tables to come). The Drive Canteen aims to open the doors and listen to music from next week. Keep an eye on their IG feed for details. See the photos below.
Congratulations to the opening team: Lindsey Mann (owner); Doug Stephen (owner); Zach Wilcox (owner); Connor Gyori (GM); Josh Jose (sneaker expert).