By Adam Brazeau
CORNWALL, Ontario - A Cornwall gourmet food shop with a loyal following is moving to a new location in the city's downtown core.
© Adam Brazeau
Keitha Fisher and Tony Lacroix.
Tony Lacroix's Love Love Food will re-open in early May at 15 1/2 Second Street East, the home of Dish Cafe and Food Store until April 17.
"It's very exciting," said Lacroix. "When I talk about it, it's very emotional. This is a big step."
The cafe style eatery sits roughly a dozen. The open concept of the kitchen allows diners to discuss recipes and savor aromas with the cook as their order is being prepared.
Minus a few cosmetic changes, the transition for Love Love Food will be relatively seamless.
"Right now, I'm still located downtown, but I've been looking for six months for a larger place where I could do more things –but I needed a space that worked in an area with high traffic," he said.
Lacroix started his business with a small selection of highly-addictive gourmet desserts, homemade jams, and coffee blends at local markets and trade shows.
A year and a half ago, Lacroix opened a small store (located at 10 4th Street East) adjacent to his home, where his partner Rony Major operates Shorteez Urban Hair Shop. But as the appetite for Love Love Food grew, so did the need for space.
Lacroix's recipe for success is giving his away. He posts all his recipes on his website and when his patrons make food follies at home, he's quick to offer sound advice.
"I've been slowly tweaking what I do by listening to the suggestions of my customers and building a following," said Lacroix. "I'm very passionate about food, and I love sharing that passion."
The local food guru will be expanding the hours of Love Love Food to Monday to Friday 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. (Thursdays till 7 p.m.) and Saturdays 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.
The cafe style shop will offer different coffees, teas, gourmet foods, soups, dessert selections (including custom cakes), and full catering services.
Lacroix will still run Love Love Food out of its original location until the end of April. (Check lovelovefood.com for updates in real time.)
Keitha Fisher, owner of Dish Cafe, has served gourmet coffee and healthy to-go meals and take-out orders in the heart of the city for two and a half years.
Providing an alternative to fast food chains is one of her passions. But Fisher was more than glad to hand over the keys to a close friend and fellow foodie.
"Some of you have heard already that I'm moving on to a new project," said Fisher. "I think downtown is going to be thrilled to have Tony's baked goods, in addition to things I did here, but with his flair."
She will continue to teach cooking classes and run a catering service. (For updates follow her Twitter @DishFoodShop). Fisher was unable to provide any details about her upcoming project.
Both her and Lacroix were quick to clarify that in no way is the relocation a partnership.
Fisher has been busy eyeing facilities with large kitchens, especially local churches to keep Dish food on local plates.
When Love Love Food announced it would be relocating on its social media networks a few days prior, phone calls and text messages from local restaurant owners poured in. Many offered their services or equipment in support.
"People may not realize this, but the restaurant community is very tight-knit in Cornwall," said Lacroix.