A Hip Little Café on the North Shore

From coffee and baked goods to sandwiches and soups, this cafe is a must stop on your way through Bruce Mines

There’s a new café in Bruce Mines, Ontario with a copper theme. It has eclectic décor with unique copper penny tables. There’s one wall covered with metal siding from an old sugar shack and barn board trim from an old barn on the property of the owner, Melissa Hughes-Ouimette. After extensive, top-to-bottom renovations to the existing building, Melissa opened her warm and inviting café in December 2018, along with her daughters, who both help out as much as they can.

Front of Store

(Photo credit: Greg Cull)

The Copper Bean Café is located on the North side of Highway 17, overlooking the park and marina right in the heart of Bruce Mines about 40 minutes east of Sault Ste Marie, ON.

“I welcome my customers to come in and work on their computer, do a puzzle, read a book or just relax.”

“The Copper Bean Café is a perfect stop for anyone travelling through the area looking for a quick coffee, tea or other beverage and a yummy bite," Melissa added. It has quickly become a favourite place for locals too, with its welcoming atmosphere and friendly service. “I welcome my customers to come in and work on their computer, do a puzzle, read a book or just relax.” Upstairs, is a fully renovated space for an Airbnb rental for travellers.

Table

(Photo credit: Greg Cull)

The menu is changing all the time, but the coffee offerings are seriously amazing. Investing in latte, cappuccino, and espresso machines, Melissa wanted to bring something that wasn’t available anywhere else in the area. She is making sure that local foods and beverages are featured as much as possible, and she’s looking for more. Local roasters are featured like Old Rock Coffee from Sudbury. She also serves Ontario blended Pluck Teas with their many Ontario-sourced ingredients.

On the food side, The Copper Bean Café has been very creative with homemade soups, panini sandwiches, smoothies, and baking with local ingredients sourced from area farms.

Menu Sign

(Photo credit: Greg Cull)

Some examples of the types of menu items include; curry butternut squash soup with homemade garlic croutons, meat pies, tacos with hickory-smoked chicken, green curry Thai soup, Cubano panini, Rueben soup with rye/swiss cheese croutons, dill pickle soup, white chicken chilli, spinach artichoke chicken panini, kale Caesar roasted chickpea buddha bowl and pumpkin spice cheesecake, blueberry tarts or sour cherry strudel. Sounds delicious!

Inside

(Photo credit: Greg Cull)

Melissa told me she was raised in Bruce Mines, and “always wanted to come back.” She studied travel and tourism at Humber College, spent time in Switzerland as a nanny, and travelled all over Europe. She worked in the restaurant industry in western Canada started from the bottom and worked up to management. After all the travelling and moving around the world for several years, it wasn’t until Melissa moved back to Ontario that she met her husband in Iron Bridge. They settled down in Sault Ste. Marie and she went back to school and got a business degree at Algoma University. She was then offered a job at Algoma University and worked there for several years.

During this time, with Melissa's entrepreneurial spirit, she was looking for opportunities. She saw there was nowhere to get a good cup of coffee in Bruce Mines, so after a lot of thought and conferring with her family, they all decided to make the move back to Bruce Mines permanently about a year ago and open up the café.

Melissa

(Photo credit: Greg Cull)

I wanted to know what she had in mind for plans for the café, and Melissa enthusiastically talked about partnering with tourism businesses for Group of Seven and the interpretive panel featuring an image of a painting made by Tom Thomson of the waterfront. She wants to offer picnic lunches for walking tours and other interesting attractions in Bruce Mines like the mine tour and local jail. “We have a lot to offer with the bike, hike, and snowmobile trails through here too.”

I could see that Melissa had boundless energy and a genuine love for her hometown. I am sure that she will be a success in her new venture!

The Copper Bean Cafe

9196 Hwy 17 East, Bruce Mines
PH: (705) 908-3032
Facebook: www.facebook.com/bmcopperbeancafe

About Sandra J. Trainor

Born and raised in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario Sandra is a Freelance Marketing Consultant, specializing in assisting busy small businesses maximize sales and marketing ROI. Sandra recently returned to her hometown, after living and working in the Simcoe County area for more than 30 years. It was there where she developed her passion for local food and agriculture, while working with farmers, producers, farmers’ markets, retailers, and restaurateurs. She believes that food brings people together, no matter what their background and that food grown and produced close to us should be not only supported, but celebrated. In her spare time, Sandra loves to explore area lakes in her kayak and spending time at her cottage on the North Shore.

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