Cornwall Ontario – Warm, humble, welcoming – These three words are the slogan of the Stomping Grounds Bistro in the Cotton Mill district, yet they are equally descriptive of the staff who serve the patrons.
Stomping Grounds is situated in a heritage cotton mill that was built in 1873 and served as the source of income for many Cornwall families at the turn of the century. The bistro features exposed brick walls, wood beams and a restored wood floor that still bears the marks of the old steel carts that used to transport bales of raw cotton throughout the mill. Large windows bathe the entire interior with natural light.
“We see the excitement that is building with the development of the Cotton Mill district, and how people are returning to the riverside,” says the café’s owner, Phil Gilmour. “We are proud to contribute to the revitalization that is not only helping the immediate area, but will hopefully benefit the city as a whole.”
The bistro currently offers a lunch and dinner menu that chef Troy Paquette describes as “rustic and unpretentious.”
Food offerings are complemented with a choice of quality beer and wine, including locally brewed Rurban beer.
It is, however, the coffee that Mr. Gilmour is most proud of. He has installed a filter brewing system that allows the coffee lover to taste the full flavour profile of the coffee bean without bitterness or astringency. The coffee is fresh and conscientiously sourced.
“It is fun to watch people react to the experience of fresh coffee properly brewed,” he says. “We are very pleased with the response so far to our coffee and food, and look to continue evolving the experience.”
Mr. Gilmour is no stranger to restaurant patrons in Cornwall, having worked at local restaurants since his arrival in Cornwall nine years ago. His dream of owning his own bistro was sparked when he met Robert Pelda, the developer who is helping transform the district to become one of Cornwall’s most popular residential addresses.
“Stomping Grounds Bistro adds a wonderful element to the community we are developing here along the St. Lawrence River,” says Mr. Pelda. “Phil has created the perfect setting to meet up with friends over a cup of coffee, and the stories we are hearing are more often than not tied to the history of the area.”
Some of the history of the area is reflected in the art the hangs on the bistro’s walls.
“The paintings are done by a very talented artist named Pierre Giroux, who happens to live in the area,” says Mr. Gilmour. “The people you meet is the best thing about owning a restaurant.”
Credit: Choose Cornwall / Bob Peters.