Breakfast burrito at Seven Shores

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[previously published]
Seven Shores Community Café
4-10 Regina Street North
Waterloo, ON   N2J 2Z8
(519) 342-0916

There’s community, and there’s food: they are best together.

Steve Tulloch, co-owner and one of the original group of 10 people who purchased Seven Shores from founder Sean Zister four years ago, says the Regina Street café has remained true to its founding philosophy.

“When we bought the café, we were all customers there. We knew Sean well, and we knew it was a café with a conscience. We wanted to maintain that,” says Tulloch.

Three words that he says describes the café are simple, ethical and relational. The last adjective, according to Tulloch, speaks to the café’s community orientation: it’s what you feel when you visit. The business is run ethically, Tulloch adds, with respect for staff, suppliers and the environment.

The dining area holds about a dozen tables, and there’s also a community room; wood features throughout offer comfort and warmth, and the patio is a wonderfully shady nook with a calm and serene quality. A busy kitchen offers an all-day breakfast.

The idea of local – and not just for the food – is important at Seven Shores. They get their chicken from the Poultry Place, based in St. Jacobs, and other meats from Stemmler’s Meats and Cheese of Heidelberg.

“We do our best to get local ingredients,” Tulloch says. “We buy our tortillas from a market supplier who is Mennonite and get a lot of produce from Martin’s Family Fruit Farm. But I’d say we’re still learning how to do that well.”

It’s been successful so far.

There’s approaching two dozen menu items focused on breakfast and lunch, with a few snacks that run all day.

From the café perspective, they serve smoothies and fair-trade coffee, and the sweets, pastries and baked goods (doughnuts, scones, cookies, muffins, brownies, sticky buns) are favourites of their regular customers. There’s a half-dozen espresso-based drinks.

At breakfast, look for a three-egg Urban Farmer dish with peameal bacon and eggs or a simple bowl of oatmeal with cinnamon. There’s also buttermilk pancakes and an omelette.

At lunch, there are sandwiches, wraps and Thai-style rice-paper fresh rolls. The grilled cheese is Cheddar and Havarti, and it’s made on cheese bread. The veggie burger is a roasted red pepper and black bean patty with mayo flavour changing weekly. Main courses come with choice of soup, salad, apple chips or kettle chips.

The Breakfast Burrito ($9) I devoured was a hefty and dense wrap that will get you through the better part of your day. The tortilla is tightly packed with omelette-like egg, red peppers and sautéed mushrooms from the Kitchener Market vendor. Chopped Stemmler’s Black Forest ham and a slightly tangy aged Cheddar round it out. It’s lightly grilled and served with salsa, sour cream and slices of apple and orange.

Whatever you’re eating, it’s always better in a neighbourhood setting, which is a point of pride for the café, according to Tulloch. “Building that sense of community really matters a lot to us.”

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