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A Hip Little Café on the North Shore

A Hip Little Café on the North Shore

A look inside Copper Bean Cafe

From coffee and baked goods to sandwiches and soups, this cafe is a must stop on your way through Bruce Mines



There’s a new café in Bruce Mines, Ontario with a copper theme. It has eclectic décor with unique copper penny tables. There’s one wall covered with metal siding from an old sugar shack and barn board trim from an old barn on the property of owner, Melissa Hughes-Ouimette. After extensive, top-to-bottom renovations to the existing building, Melissa opened her warm and inviting café in December, 2018, along with her daughters, who both help out as much as they can.

Copper Bean Café is located on the North side of the Highway 17, overlooking the park and marina right in the heart of Bruce Mines about 40 minutes east of Sault Ste Marie, ON.

“I welcome my customers to come in and work on their computer, do a puzzle, read a book or just relax.” 

“Copper Bean Café is a perfect stop for anyone travelling through the area looking for a quick coffee, tea or other beverage and a yummy bite," she adds. It has quickly become a favourite place for locals too, with its welcoming atmosphere and friendly service. Says Melissa, “I welcome my customers to come in and work on their computer, do a puzzle, read a book or just relax.” Upstairs, is a fully renovated space for an Airbnb rental for travellers.

The menu is changing all the time, but the coffee offerings are seriously amazing.  Investing in latte, cappuccino and espresso machines, Melissa wanted to bring something that wasn’t available anywhere else in the area. She is making sure that local foods and beverages are featured as much as possible, and she’s looking for more. Copper Country Coffee, a local roaster from Bruce Mines, is one of the coffees featured, along with Old Rock Coffee from Sudbury. She also serves Ontario blended Pluck Teas with their many Ontario-sourced ingredients.  

On the food side, Copper Bean Café has been very creative with homemade soups, panini sandwiches, smoothies and baking. On Wednesdays they offer cabbage rolls and perogies from Croatian Corner in Sault Ste. Marie, and plans are to source from Sunnynook Farms in Echo Bay for fresh local vegetables. Green Grove Farm Maple Products’ maple syrup from Bruce Mines is also a staple on the menu.  

Some examples of the types of menu items include; curry butternut squash soup with homemade garlic croutons, meat pies, tacos with hickory smoked chicken, green curry Thai soup, Cubano panini, Rueben soup with rye/swiss cheese croutons, dill pickle soup, white chicken chili, spinach artichoke chicken panini, kale Caesar roasted chick pea buddha bowl and pumpkin spice cheesecake, blueberry tarts or sour cherry strudel. Sounds delicious! 

Melissa told me she was raised in Bruce Mines, and “always wanted to come back.”  She studied travel and tourism at Humber College, spent time in Switzerland as a nanny and travelled all over Europe. She worked in the restaurant industry in western Canada and started from the bottom and worked up to management. After all the travelling and moving around the world for several years, it wasn’t until Melissa moved back to Ontario where she met her husband in Iron Bridge. They settled down in Sault Ste. Marie and she went back to school and got a business degree at Algoma University. She was then offered a job at Algoma University and worked there for several years.

During this time, with Melissa's entrepreneurial spirit, she was looking for opportunities. She saw there was no where to get a good cup of coffee in Bruce Mines, so after a lot of thought and conferring with her family, they all decided to make the move back to Bruce Mines permanently about a year ago and open up the café. 

I wanted to know what she had in mind for future plans for the café, and Melissa enthusiastically talked about partnering with tourism groups, like the Group of Seven organization and the Thom Thompson exhibit—“He who stopped in Bruce Mines to create some of his paintings.” She wants to offer picnic lunches for walking tours and other interesting attractions in Bruce Mines like the mine tour and local jail. “We have a lot to offer with the bike, hike and snowmobile trails through here too.”

I could see that Melissa has boundless energy and a genuine love for her hometown.  I am sure that she will be a success in her new venture!

All photos by Greg Cull

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