Axe Handle Cafe built ‘about Kingston, for Kingston’

Axe Handle Cafe owners Amy and Mark Anderson opened the cafe to give the Kingston community another choice in dining.                     - Megan Stephenson / Herald
Axe Handle Cafe owners Amy and Mark Anderson opened the cafe to give the Kingston community another choice in dining.
— image credit: Megan Stephenson / Herald

KINGSTON — The Axe Handle Cafe is a nod to Kingston’s past and future.

Old saws and photos of historical Kingston dot the walls inside, a reference to Kingston’s former logging past. But owners Mark and Amy Anderson opened the cafe to give the community another choice, another space to dine out and meet up with their neighbors.

The cafe is “intentionally built about Kingston, for Kingston,” Amy said.

Offering breakfast, lunch and dinner, as well as freshly baked bread and pastries made in-house, the cafe is not an extension of the Andersons’ other cafe, the Cup and Muffin. In fact, most of the products are different at the two locations, including coffee. Amy said they didn’t want to “saturate” Kingston with the same offerings.

Try, instead, Mark’s bourbon peppercorn ribs or spicy green salmon. The Andersons sourced a lot of their produce from local farms and vendors. The cakes, cookies and pastries are made by local bakers Leslee Pate and Pam Buitenveld from the Food Shed. Amy said they’ve given the bakers creative freedom to make whatever they feel like each night — as long as Mark also gets chocolate chip cookies and blueberry muffins.

Patrons sit at family-sized tables, and books and board games are available for groups or those who want to meet a new friend.

The pictures are borrowed from the Kingston Historical Society, which doesn’t currently have a space to display its many artifacts.

The Andersons worked diligently to achieve a community vibe. The Cup and Muffin holds a “takeover” fundraiser for the Kingston 4th of July every year, and the Andersons regularly donate to auctions and raffles.

It’s an investment in the community they’ve made their home since moving to Kingston more than five years ago.

“We didn’t have the drive to be a part of a community until [we came] here,” Mark said.

“Our kids are growing up here,” Amy said. “I look forward to our community holding them accountable and seeing them grow.”

While Amy has worked in coffee shops and customer service for 20 years, Mark only recently began cooking up his recipes for the public. He said he was inspired by his chef friends, but he also has a knack for mixing flavors.

The Axe Handle Cafe, located in the IGA shopping complex off Highway 104, is open 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. every day. Check their Facebook page ( for the daily menu.

“I just want community to use this space,” Amy said. Already, she’s seen groups of women meeting up to play board games and drink wine or tea. Birthday parties and business meetings have taken place.

“That’s community building right there, sitting down, getting to know each other,” Amy said.

The Andersons said they’re able to split their time between the two cafes because of their “amazing staff.” The two cafes employ 25 people.Stay tuned for the grand opening.



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