Mandolin’s offers coffee, food and cozy atmospheres

Mandolin’s is a gem of a cafe and bakery that has served coffee and tea drinks and homemade treats to Merrittonians for over twenty years.

Cheryl MacMillan and her daughter Laurie are the third and oldest owners, having bought the business ten years ago, celebrating their tenth anniversary in May this year.

“We’re known for baking, we cook every day, fresh,” said Cheryl MacMillan, referring to some of what makes Mandolin a favorite among locals and tourists alike.

There is no doubt that MacMillan’s experience was also helpful in transforming Mandolin’s into a ‘go-to’ restaurant, having spent much of its working life in the food industry, including a stint at Mandolin’s long before it does not own it.

“I worked here 20 years ago for Val and Lorne Sanders,” MacMillan said.

“I was asked to buy it at that time, but I refused it. I was then approached by McDonald’s to go and manage the two McDonald’s stores, so I left Mandolin’s to do that. And then Val called a little over ten years ago to ask if we’d like to buy it, and I couldn’t say no twice.

Nicola Valley is lucky MacMillan decided to say yes, as Mandolin’s has become a cozy community hangout with great food.

“This is a great little cafe to visit,” said MacMillan, who opted for a warm and inviting space adorned with local memorabilia, plants and books.

“We are hockey sponsors, so that’s the reason for the different jerseys we have everywhere. My husband was a cowboy so we have some really nice pictures on the wall of the different guys he worked with at different local ranches. It’s just a nice place to come and sit or visit or have coffee or do your work.

Indeed, during the interview, several businessmen and women, members of the Merritt RCMP detachment, retirees and Merritt resident writer Mike Bhangu walked over to tables and chairs and sofas. comfortable.

“I love antiques, so I brought a few loveseats and I want them to be comfortable for people,” MacMillan said.

“If they want to sit down and put their feet on the couch, they can, and I don’t want anyone to feel rushed. If they want to come and sit for two or three hours, they can. There is no pressure to leave, and now that things have opened up we definitely have more people sitting in there and enjoying.

The COVID-19 pandemic has hit the food industry hard, and Mandolin’s was no exception, but the MacMillans have found a way to pivot their business model and come back even better than before, delivering exceptional service throughout. along the restrictions and blockages.

“We never closed, we just worked hard to create new products for the menu,” MacMillan explained, noting that the new gluten-free and keto-free options were very popular.

“We have done a lot of wholesale orders; everything was done by wire transfer and prepayment and all they had to do was come and pick it up.

Laurie was also active on social media, in touch with the community, and as a family business, Cheryl’s grandchildren helped her regularly.

“It worked really well to be a family business and to have the help of the granddaughters as well,” said MacMillan, who was nonetheless delighted to see the restaurant’s customers return.

“I was kinda lonely all day, every day,” MacMillan joked.

“I did a few books, but it wasn’t the same for sure.”

Whether you are looking for a quality latte, an old-fashioned cappuccino or cup of Joe, a hot meal, a homemade sandwich or baked goods – Cheryl’s favorites are the date squares, the famous chocolate buns. Mandolin Cinnamon and Keto Chocolate Cheesecake – Mandolin’s is the place to be.

Also on the menu, a large assortment of smoothies, made with fresh fruit and any add-on you prefer, including yogurt, spinach, kale, collagen or protein.

If you need to pick me up, or if you want to do something good for the community, you can also collect or contribute a free meal from the “Meal Wall”, an initiative launched by Laurie and Cheryl in which food and drinks are prepaid by one customer and used by another.

“Come in and enjoy the atmosphere, enjoy our products and leave with a good feeling that you can recommend to others,” is the cordial invitation from Cheryl, Laurie and the family.

Mandolin’s is located in Rail Yard Mall, # 114-1700 Garcia St.

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