I’m always amazed by the many places in our area that there are to enjoy a wonderful meal. This little unassuming cafe and eatery, located in downtown Grand Valley, certainly fits in to the “must visit” category, when you’re looking to enjoy the best of what local culinary skills and ingredients are all about.
I sat down with chef and owner Daniel Bonello of Brewed Awakenings Cafe and Eatery, to find out why this popular spot is gaining a lot of attention, and turning hungry tummies into happy and full ones.
Trust me on this; you’ll love Daniel from the moment you meet him. This relatively young chef is very proud of his accomplishments thus far, but he is reluctant to brag, and he did not come by his success easily.
Born in the area and raised in Grand Valley, Daniel’s love to cook came by both he and his sister honestly. “My parents loved to cook, and made sure that my sister and I were involved in cooking family meals at a young age. It was great because we cooked as a family, which connected us through the food, as well as so many other great things we did together as a family.” His point becomes clear the more time you spend with this gentleman. It becomes quickly apparent that he has strong family connections, and a very strong bond to the Dufferin County community.
Schooled in the local area, it was when it came time to move into collegiate endeavours that Daniel moved east, and attended the Algonquin College Culinary Arts Program, specifically “Culinary Management”. Once completed, Daniel moved back to Grand Valley, with the intent to work for a year, save money, and then go back to school for a focused program in pastries. Daniel spent several years working at The Grand River Chophouse, serving in both front and back of house positions, including time as their welcoming host!
Now living and working full-time in Grand Valley, Daniel met Cathy, the previous owner of what is now Brewed Awakenings, who made him the proverbial “offer he couldn’t refuse”. Cathy and Daniel worked together for the next 6 months, and eventually Cathy proposed that Daniel purchase the location for himself. While not expecting this remarkable opportunity and planning to go back to school, Daniel needed to make a decision. And thank goodness for all of us, he decided to take Cathy up on her offer!
Two years ago, Daniel became sole owner of Brewed Awakenings, and has been growing, learning, and pleasing his customers ever since.
So what can you expect when you walk through the doors of Brewed Awakenings?
The first thing you notice is the lovely design of Daniel’s space. It has this warm boho/rustic feel to it, complete with oversized leather chairs to sit back and relax, and harvest-style tables for family and friends to gather. The space is comfortable, cozy, and you can’t help but want to stay awhile.
But it’s the coffee and food where this young chef makes his mark. “We serve mostly Reunion Island brand coffee” explains Daniel. “We have a coffee bar with several choices, including organic and decaffeinated, and usually there are 8 different varieties for our customers to choose from.” Not only is the coffee delicious, this particular brand is very smooth and robust, and pairs well with the breakfast and lunch items Daniel offers on his menu.
Most of the menu items that Daniel offers are home-made, meaning they’re made in-house from scratch, and made by Daniel himself. “I think it’s important to feed my customers real food. Living in this area, there’s no reason not to utilize local fresh baked and freshly cooked items, all of which my customers can count on when they eat my food.”
So just what can you find on Daniel’s menu? Here are just a few sample items to give you an idea:
- Breakfast Burrito
- Loaded Western
- French Toast
- Grilled Veggie Wrap
- Daily Soup
- Spinach Salad
- Fresh Bread
Did I mention these were all made in-house? Just kidding. Once you’ve tasted it, you’ll know instantly that the food is fresh, healthy, and created by a young chef who loves what he does.
Daniel is also quick to point out that his menu offers something for everyone. He has vegan, gluten free, and organic options, and can adjust his food to accommodate most allergy or dietary requirements.
Brewed Awakenings in beautiful downtown Grand Valley, ON is the perfect place if you’re looking for a delicious homemade breakfast, lunch, or baked goods. Paired with a wonderful cup of coffee or the many other beverage options, it’s a culinary experience you’ll want to enjoy again and again.
Written by: Kelli M. Maddocks
Photography: Cory Bruyea
Resources: Brewed Awakenings Cafe & Eatery, Grand Valley