Balluchon Raymond Inc. is back. Albeit, with a slightly longer name. But after about a six-month hiatus for owner Raymond Emes as he closed shop to tackle some personal issues, the popular cafe on Sorauren Avenue at Wright is now up and running.
"The outpouring of support was really incredible," Raymond says when I meet him outside his recently renovated shop. "The emails just kept coming in. People wanted to see this place come back to life."
And it has. But with new floors, exposed brick walls, and ambitious plans for the menu. "The plan is food from Grey and Bruce County," Raymond, who spent time in both those regions during Balluchon's closure, says. After meeting some young, enthusiastic agricultural producers, Raymond has decided to incorporate items like grass-fed oxtail and Georgian Bay Whitefish caviar to the existing offerings of kartoffelpuffer (German potato pancake), eggs, ethically sourced coffee and more.
And there are still some additional changes. Coffee will no longer be roasted onsite, but still offered at 6:35 a.m. sharp every day in the form of Americanos ($2.25), iced lattes ($4.99) and more, along with fresh croissants ($2.49) and other baked goods.
But it seems Raymond is more about the teas nowadays anyway. "That cup is really impacting the environment," Raymond says of the coffee that requires enormous human and natural energy to produce. "We should be switching to teas." (Of course, we're both sipping on cold steeped Kenyan iced teas ($3.49).)
Raymond also hopes to offer fountain drinks made with Grey and Bruce County berries and other fruits and a few new Balluchon staples. But right now, he's just working on finding a way to handle the crowds showing up for Balluchon's famous weekend brunch. And so, it seems word has gotten out about Balluchon's revival.
"Sorauren is everything a small town should be," Raymond says, reflecting fondly on his experiences now and before he first closed. "People know each other. They say hi to each other. Kids come here and can get things on their mother's tab. You know what, I'm going to die on this street."
I suppose that means Balluchon isn't going anywhere.