Couple to Open New Cafe in Desbarats

Couple to Open New Cafe in Desbarats
Photos supplied by Veronica Alimole.

There is a new cafe coming to Desbarats this fall and it promises to be like no other in the area. Owners Veronica and Jasper Alimole have purchased the old Smith’s Desbarats Market and are working on renovations to create a café with a small grocery section.

Veronica is originally from Ghana and grew up in Sudbury, Ontario. Her husband Jasper is originally from Nigeria. Together they share a love for African and Caribbean cuisine and baked goods, which they will create in the café along with local favorites like wings, burgers and fries.

The couple has one daughter, Ijeoma, and they plan to name the café after her, Ije's Place. Veronica explains, “My daughter's name is Ijeoma, which means a beautiful Journey. It chronicles our own journey as a couple and family and we chose it because we feel our experiences in Desbarats so far foreshadows another leg of that beautiful journey.”  

The couple have spent the last 10 years working and living on a Cree First Nation Reserve in northern Quebec. Veronica worked with a business development corporation while Jasper and a partner opened a small establishment named J & W Eastmain Drive Thru Coffee Shop.

When it was time to look for other opportunities, Veronica started her search of small, northern Ontario communities, since she grew up in Sudbury. When they found Desbarats, they looked no further and purchased a home and then the building on Lake Huron Drive.

Veronica says they have now relocated to their home here and are ready to get to work on renovations to create a space in the building for a cafe and small grocery store.

The building has been emptied and stripped down on the inside, but work came to a halt as they focused on a funding application for the bakery part of the business. The new bakery will specialize in unique African style pastries and breads that are not available anywhere in the north at this time. Veronica remembers her family having to get these specialty items on visits to Toronto, while growing up in Sudbury.

The cafe will be eat in or take out and they are still deciding what days and hours will work best. "We’ve been getting a lot of information and good feedback on our ideas from people we meet in the community", says Veronica. "We love that the community is excited to see a new business open and they've been very welcoming to us since we started this venture.

"Veronica and Jazz are strong believers in the old adage, "You get back what you put in" and they are looking forward to becoming active within the community once they get settled in and the business is up and running. Eventually, they hope to create up to 3 new jobs between the cafe and bakery.

Veronica knows that the building has become an eyesore in Desbarats, but is confident in Jasper’s ability to give it a much needed facelift. "Jazz is very creative and loves to work with plants and landscaping, so I know he will do a good job."

Veronica sent us some before and after shots of their little restaurant in Quebec. "I hope this will prove to people that we have good intentions of making improvements, but it will still be a lot of work and take some time."

Couple to Open New Cafe in Desbarats
Couple to Open New Cafe in Desbarats