One week in business and Nia Bracken is more than confident that Meaford is ready for the 100%-plant based menu that she is offering as owner of Graze Cafe that opened on Saturday, June 1, at 43 Sykes Street.
“Meaford is changing so fast,” she said. “There is a huge market for plant-based and health conscious diets. Who would have thought that pulled porc (yes, porc with a ‘c’) made from lentils, carrots, and awesome spices could be so exciting, so good. The number of people who ate tofu this week for the first time and loved it blew my mind.
“Our plant-based ice cream sandwiches, rhubarb tarts, brownies, and lemon squares have been a big seller.”
Graze Cafe has been a journey into the world of entrepreneurship that Nia could never have fathomed for herself and her husband Ted, yet here she is, owner of Meaford’s first plant-based cafe. The journey began last fall when she pitched an idea for a plant-based meal kit service to the Meaford Dragons. The Dragons’ reaction to her pitch was not what she expected. “I won nothing,” she said, “but their advice was incredible. They told me that my business plan was well put together, the best by far. They told me to stop pitter-pattering around and to rethink my plans.”
That was in November. Following the Meaford Dragons, all contestants were invited to compete for a one-year lease on the vacant space at 43 Sykes Street. Nia rethought and rewrote her business plan, submitted it, and won. In January, she was offered a rent-free 12-month lease on the 43 Sykes building.
Renovating and outfitting the space claimed the first five months of the 12-month lease. “The building is beautiful from the outside but I had to invest a few thousand dollars to renovate the inside,” she said.
“Meaford is a smorgasbord of supplies. I am pleased to say that my produce comes from a local greenhouse, and my bread and bulk supplies from local suppliers. It’s the local community that did this for me and I want to give something back.”
Graze Cafe is open Tuesday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. The menu includes breakfast and lunch and take-out.
For more information, visit Facebook or phone 519-377-2151.