The space that formerly housed Canteen in Station North will soon have a new resident, BAMF Cafe. Rather than it being a profane compliment—badass motherfucker—a closer look at the front window reveals the acronym's meaning in smaller print below: Books, Action Figures, Movies, Friends. The current window display lives up to that acronym, with Freddie and Jason battling it out under an Imperial Walker from "Star Wars" and a large inflatable Dalek from "Doctor Who."
The name BAMF comes from a fittingly geeky background as well. Co-owner Nicholas Springham wanted a quick, punchy onomatopoeic word that would stand out and, at the same time, recall superhero nostalgia. Specifically, "Bamf" is the resulting sound when X-Men's Nightcrawler teleports*. It wasn't until after the name was chosen that friends informed him of its more colloquial meaning. But Springham found it fitting.
Growing up, Springham and his dad were big fans of "Star Wars," X-Men, and the Marvel universe. "That's where a lot of the décor [in the cafe] is coming from, stuff we have stored in his attic and basement for years," he says. He lost interest in high school but picked it up again a few years ago when he and co-owner Melissa Murphey started going to the comic-book store Collector's Corner in Parkville and to conventions together.
Springham has been working in the cafe industry for about six years, the past several as a manager for On the Hill Cafe in Bolton Hill. Initially, the focus of BAMF will be on food and drink: The menu will include salads, paninis and deli sandwiches priced $5-$8, snacks, dips, and baked goods, as well as teas, smoothies, iced teas, lemonades, and seasonal beverages (some of them BAMF-themed, of course), plus a full espresso bar with specialty coffees costing $3-$5. Springham and Murphey also plan to rotate vegan specials, and they hope to offer options for dietary restrictions such as gluten-free bread.
Springham and Murphey hope to eventually add in a retail element to the cafe if there is interest from the community. "Eventually I really want to put a focus on supporting independent and local comics and illustrators and stuff and feature certain things in the store, and try to bring in writers and artists to show work and kind of have like a general community that has a little bit of focus on things that just aren't in the mainstream," says Springham.
They have some other ideas for the space, including kid-friendly toy chests or coloring books, a library of books—and maybe comics—for customers to read while they eat, and a changing window display that will feature action scenes, seasonal themes, or new releases.
The BAMF Cafe is expected to open by late August or early September. Starting hours will be Tuesday-Friday from 10 a.m.-10 p.m., with extended weekend hours.
*Correction: An earlier version of this post stated that Nightcrawler says "Bamf" when he teleports. It is the sound that happens when he teleports. City Paper regrets the error.