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New bistro in Surrey a ‘beautiful’ space for young people, on both sides of the counter

Mackie’s Place moves to 104 Avenue site, ‘the same caliber as a coffee shop around the corner’
The new Mackie’s Place HQ and bistro at 13889 104 Ave., Surrey, during a “homecoming” event Feb. 7. (video screenshot/

New to North Surrey is a different kind of bistro where young people gather, learn restaurant skills and enjoy food and beverages for free.

A “homecoming” event was held Feb. 7 at the new Mackie’s Place HQ, on 104 Avenue at 139 Street in Whalley, with a red carpet, appetizers, mocktails and the organization’s signature pies.

Fuelled by fundraising efforts, the drop-in space was two years in the making, according to Bobbi-Rhea Mackie, co-founder and executive director of Mackie’s Place youth social house.

The bistro offers job skills, employment programs and a gathering place for young people who might be struggling in at-risk situations, she explained.

“Everything here is free for young people, and it is run under the leadership of adults,” Mackie told the Now-Leader.

“You’ll see young people serving young people,” she added. “Young people prepare all the food, all of the chores, cleaning, bussing, serving, running the POS system (point of sale), it’s a full youth-led bistro. Everything we serve on the menu is made from scratch, down to our dressings, and our kids are doing all that. It’s kind of a beautiful thing.”

The new Mackie’s Place HQ and bistro at 13889 104 Ave., Surrey, during a “homecoming” event Feb. 7. (video screenshot/

Mackie said youth in the job-skills program earn “incentives” for every shift worked, for “Guildford mall cards, things that kids need or want, phone minutes, sometimes grocery cards, bus passes. We also employ nine of our alums, often young people more toward the age of 19 through 24.”

The bistro was built after Mackie’s Place had to vacate from space at a nearby church more than two years ago, on short notice.

In North Surrey, “it’s not easy to find new space, so it’s been a journey to get here, and we’re just so grateful,” Mackie said.

“What was amazing is that for the last two-and-a-half years, we’ve been able to pivot and partner with different organizations in Surrey, and we’re currently running out of five different sites,” she added.

“At the bistro we’ll be able to have our doors open Monday through Friday with different levels of programming, doing different things on different days. Our goal is to open seven days a week. It’s all due to funding, because we’re a privately-funded organization…. We started with a budget of $7,000 seven years ago and our budget is now $1.5 million.”

To benefit Mackie’s Place, Beedie Cares has launched a “70/70” fundraising campaign. Led by Ryan and Cindy Beedie, the foundation pledges to match all donations up to $70,000, for a potential $140,000, by the end of 2024.


The new Mackie’s Place HQ and bistro at 13889 104 Ave., Surrey, during a “homecoming” event Feb. 7. (video screenshot/

Mackie's Place Youth Homecoming from Mackie's Place on Vimeo.

On the Vimeo platform, the new bistro is shown in a video focused on the “homecoming” event this month.

The total project budget was $325,000, including leasehold improvements, appliances, furniture, signage, tech equipment, moving costs and more.

“It’s professional, the same caliber as a coffee shop around the corner,” Mackie raved. “We’re so proud that we have had a community to back us to create this space for them. When the kids walk in, they just are so excited and feel cared for. They’ll say that it feels like a second home, a safe space, and that’s what we wanted to create.”

Mackie’s Place was born “out of two women’s lives that had been transformed by the radical love of God,” according to a post on

”In 2014, Bobbi-Rhea and Favian (Kleine, director of care) were sitting together in Favian’s home dreaming of how they could support young people in our city,” the website says. “They chatted about injustice and the tragedies that so many young people are facing in our own backyard.”

The previous night, Mackie had watched a “20/20” episode featuring Urban Promise, an organization in Camden, New Jersey, which she had interned with as a young woman. Urban Promise aims to help kids, youth and their families in the inner-city.

“For many years, Bobbi-Rhea would watch the annual feature on the organization and weep, knowing that one day she wanted to be back on the ground seeking change for the at-risk community,” the website says. “Likewise, Favian had a vision for at-risk youth in our city and had begun drafting a plan. Her vision was a youth hub that would be a platform for an idea that she had long been brewing in her heart.

“This idea would bridge families from diverse communities to walk together, encouraging both parties to grow, be challenged, and ultimately transformed. From that day forward, the heart of Mackie’s Place began.”

Tom Zillich

About the Author: Tom Zillich

I cover entertainment, sports and news stories for the Surrey Now-Leader, where I've worked for more than half of my 30-plus years in the newspaper business.
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