There’s a cheery little eatery nestled at the west end of the Northgate business area that offers breakfast and lunch in an atmosphere that combines British charm and coffee house informality. Located in the former British Shoppe, the Overflow Café seamlessly melds the old with the new. Owner/operator Michele Smeets says, “It’s still has a bit of a British feel with a coffee house flare.”
Michele brings decades of experience to her new endeavour, and she was mentored by one of Sarnia’s most notable restauranteurs. “I worked with Olive Archibald at Olive’s and the Garden Tea Room for 20 years until Olive retired,” she said. Michele also worked at the British Shoppe until it closed. “I worked along side Irene Gifford former owner of the British Shoppe who also taught me a lot.” She is now assisted by her daughters, Jordyn and Alycia, as well as staff members Dee, Sarah, Becks, Lori, and Gayle.
The homemade fare at the Overflow Café features a range of British classics, from a selection of golden-crusted dinner pies with potatoes, baked beans or mushy peas, to bangers and mash. ‘Loaded’ sandwiches from chicken club to seafood, as well as familiar classics, share the menu with OB1 perogies, and an all-day breakfast menu that includes crumpets and a good English fry-up of eggs, bacon, sausage and all the customary sides. A soup and a quiche of the day, plus specialty salads, are also on offer. And to complete the meal, how about a dessert? They vary each day with tempting sweets like tart with cream or luscious bread pudding.
The friendly staff and the delectable fare ensure that customers always leave with a satisfied appetite and a big smile on their faces. That’s the way Michele likes it. “I love people,” she said. “I’m a faith-based person and Jesus is my first love. My mission is to make (the customers) smile and turn their frowns upside down.”
The walls of the intimate dining space are decorated with original artwork that captures the diversity of the café, and the café itself is the product of imagination and hard work. “My husband, Jamie, and his friend, Nevada, did a lot of carpentry in here,” said Michele. “My friends Frankie and Andrea painted. I had a lot of help from my friends.” The space includes three stunning black pews that originally resided in St. Gile’s church at Lakeshore and Colborne Roads as well as an English telephone booth that functions as the front door.
With the success of the Overflow Café providing encouragement to expand, Michele has her sights set on the future. “I’d like to have more space here or open another one,” she said.
For more information about the Overflow Café, call 519-344-0808.