#MYSOCO GALLERY

Cozy Cafes with Charismatic Culture

Guest Contributor: Fallon Gervais

Between the three municipalities on Niagara’s South Coast, there are more than seven locally-owned cafes, each with an aesthetic and menu that differ from the next. The café culture here is something unique, and I assure everyone not to miss out on it when they visit Wainfleet, Port Colborne, or Fort Erie.

I have lived my whole life in Port Colborne and there is nothing I enjoy more than experiencing our local cafes one by one. As a kid, I would often bike from home to the nearest café and buy lemonade or a cookie to take with me as I walked with friends along the canal. It was a favourite pastime that I look back on with a smile. While I’m a few years older now, I still return to these cafes when home from university. Study dates, or hours spent catching up with friends in these perfectly decorated spaces, remind me so much of why cafes are a treat for my soul.

For me, I think cafes will always be more than a place to enjoy a cup of coffee. I’ve been to several cafes in Niagara’s South Coast and can speak from first-hand experience about just how good they all are. Their aesthetic has a way of making the atmosphere inviting; not to mention their food and staff can’t be beaten. Instead of rating them individually or describing every single detail, I’ve decided to sort them into categories to help highlight their best qualities.

AMAZING ATMOSPHERE

The aesthetic of these cafes is so interesting to me. The Green Apple Coffeehouse, located on historic West Street, has a sleek yet comforting environment with accents of green painted throughout it. The Green Apple also has free Wi-Fi, which I frequently use when studying in their seating area. I’m especially enchanted by the mix of sounds that fill the airwaves, from freshly poured coffee hitting the cup to the chatty buzz of casual conversations. I want to say their atmosphere feels almost like a Starbucks, but at the right tempo for a small town like Port Colborne.

Another cafe that I find has a unique aesthetic is Our Corner Cafe in Ridgeway. It is really quaint and couldn’t be cozier. The decor reminds me of a living room where you would host guests; only this room has tables and seats like every other cafe. Between living in Port Colborne and having friends in Fort Erie, I am super fond of Our Corner Cafe for meet-ups. We make ourselves at home, catch up on the latest, and are guaranteed to leave feeling great after trying their delicious drinks and food.

FOOD MEMORIES

The Pie Guys Bakery & Cafe, also located on historic West Street, makes some of my absolute favourite foods. They truly live up to the name with the wide variety of sweet and savoury pies on display. I patiently await the apple harvest every year just so I can get one of their apple pies, made with locally grown produce of course! The Pie Guys love to flex their baking muscles by offering goodies such as tarts, cheesecakes, and muffins, or my number one choice, their cookies and scones. Lunch items are on the menu too with soups, sandwiches, and a generous assortment of specialty beverages. I never hesitate to say yes to going back to The Pie Guys.

On Port Colborne’s Main Street is where you can find Bremfields. I’m instantly in a wonderland of baked goods whenever I step foot into this beautiful powder blue building. Everything they do has a touch of Bremfields’ creativity. For example, the cafe cycles through an abundant selection of cheesecake flavours, with Kit Kat, Peanut Butter Cup, Death by Chocolate or Lemon being my picks of the mix. Bremfields’ brunch menu also has me convinced that I should be eating brunch more often! Cinnamon buns, Belgian waffles, panini sandwiches, and soups with a sandwich or scone are what food memories are made from. Bring a friend or some family, and you’ll have a hard time discussing anything other than their vibrant décor, local art pieces, and heart-warming sweets.

SUPER SERVICE

The Crystal Ball Cafe in Crystal Beach wins me over every time with their quality of service. My fondest memories of this particular cafe come from the lunch dates I used to go on with my best friend. The owner was nothing but lovely to us. She always made sure to give us loyalty stamp cards and chat with us about school or life in general. This kind of friendliness rubs off on her customers as well. Going from the counter to our comfy seats, my friend and I would regularly make conversation with other guests simply because of the positive energy that the cafe promotes. Like some of the cafes mentioned earlier, I love The Crystal Ball’s menu of drinks and baked goods, and I adore seeing their walls full of work by local artists.

The last stop on this tour of cafes with super service is Market Cafe. When it was first located along Clarence Street in Port Colborne, I would usually go there on my lunch breaks for hot chocolate and a cookie. To this day, I still remember how the server was incredibly friendly and always quick to have my order ready. Even after the cafe moved to its new location on Main Street, it continues to have the same happy-to-serve attitude as it did from day one. The only thing more generous than the hospitality at Market Cafe is their portions. Whenever I’m in need of comforting breakfast staples like eggs benedict or French toast, I know exactly where I’m headed.

The cafe culture in Niagara’s South Coast is extremely prominent. Locals like me love it, and I know, without a doubt, I’m not alone in feeling the way I do. From the unique aesthetics to the memorable food and incredible service, the cafes I mentioned above are easily a big draw among tourists too. Providing space for social activity while also satisfying taste buds is what our local cafes do best. Nothing makes me happier than sharing my eventful experiences with everyone in hopes that you will make the most of the precious days you spend in Fort Erie, Port Colborne, and Wainfleet.