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New Midland restaurant offers plenty of greens (6 photos)

Keith's Café & Catering on Vinden Street boasts the region's largest salad bar along with a wide selection of 'handhelds'

An area of Midland that’s home to several small manufacturers and auto repair shops now has a new dining option.

While many residents work along and just off Vinden Street, Keith’s Café & Catering represents the neighbourhood’s lone sit-down restaurant option.

Nestled in a former laundromat, owner Keith Perrault has created a charming soup and sandwich spot that also boasts what he notes is the town’s largest salad bar.

Featuring new wooden tables and chairs, large picture windows provide plenty of natural light for customers enjoying a morning or afternoon meal.

“We opened January 10. Then we had a blizzard and the next day it was minus 32 degrees,” Perrault said.

“It’s been a struggle. When we opened on the 10th, they (the province) shut the restaurants down that day, but we knew we had the takeout option.”

But now that restaurants are again allowed to offer in-person dining, Perrault said that “since we've had people sitting in here the last few days. It’s really been nice.”

Open from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday to Saturday, the new food option offers some breakfast items as well as a wide array of salads and ‘handhelds,’ including wraps, paninis and sandwiches and its ‘famous Midland hoagie.’ There’s also an array of baked goods, beverages and daily soups on offer.

Perrault said he’s not competing with long-established eateries like Dino’s on King Street, but rather wants to offer an alternative to fast-food restaurants for those looking to eat fresh, healthy food.

“There’s nothing here in this area where you can sit down,” Perrault said, noting employees at neighbouring businesses seem to appreciate the new option and have become regular customers.

The only other place to eat on Vinden remains Perrault’s other business, the Fish N Fry Inn chip truck.

Perrault said when he was deciding whether to sign a lease to rent the former laundromat, he called a friend for advice.

He told Perrault that his options were to either compete against someone else who might also decide to turn the space into a restaurant or compete against himself. He chose the latter.

“I’m trying to offer something different to the people in our area,” explained Perrault, 58. “I’m competing against myself.”

And while Perrault’s Facebook page has been buzzing with many positive comments about his new venture, he’s really hoping those good wishes translate into more people coming through the café’s doors.

“I’ve got $28,000 invested in a sandwich shop,” Perrault said, noting that some might wonder about whether offering a salad bar is a good idea given the current state of the pandemic.

But Perrault noted buffet-style dining is again allowed under provincial regulations and precautions are in place, including ensuring all patrons wear a mask and gloves when loading up their plates with various salads and vegetables.

A single trip to the salad bar is $9.95 with a second trip costing $4.95. An all-you-can-eat option is $16.95 while adding all you-can-add-soup brings the total to $19.95.

And like many restaurants, Perrault said the profit margins are low, especially when it comes to ensuring the salad bar is always stocked with fresh vegetables and other items.

Originally, Perrault thought he could do everything himself, but quickly realized he couldn’t and made the decision to bring in a dedicated employee who’s worked for him at the chip truck for several years.

“I’m working 16 hours a day, six days a week,” he said of the need for some help.

But it’s not just the stainless steel salad bar or various appliances that raised the cost of opening a new restaurant nowadays.

Due to provincial legislation, new restaurants have to be accessible to those with disabilities. That meant spending extra dollars to make sure the front doors and bathroom were accessible for those in wheelchairs.

As an example of added costs, Perrault pointed out the electrical bathroom door and accompanying push pads and panic button alone cost $4,300.

Over the years, Perrault has been a big supporter of charitable causes, including Wounded Warriors and the Salvation Army food bank and wants to get more involved with the Georgian Bay Food Network.

He added: “I believe in giving back to the community.” 

For more information, visit or call (705) 209-4428.

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Andrew Philips

About the Author: Andrew Philips

Editor Andrew Philips is a multiple award-winning journalist whose writing has appeared in some of the country’s most respected news outlets. Originally from Midland, Philips returned to the area from Québec City a decade ago.
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