From dust to dining on Colborne Street

Colborne Coffee and Tea House. Photo by Cody Hoffman

After about ten years of abandonment, a four-story building on Colborne St. is open and teeming with life.

Brothers Sona and Bobby Reehal bought and transformed 70 Colborne St. into a multi-purpose building that includes the newly-opened Colborne Coffee and Tea House, residences for locals and students, and a soon-to-be pub.

After nine months of renovation and rejuvenation, the café has a spacious, relaxing atmosphere and overlooks the casino which is a colourful scene at night.

“It was a lot of work,” Bobby Reehal said. “You name it—from plumbing to the roof leaking to rewiring the ectrical.”

The owners took care to keep the character of the building by incorporating the old barn wood and hanging pictures on the wall that depict Brantford as it was a century ago.

The café offers students a 10 per cent discount, free Wi-Fi and round tables that fit three to four people—ideal for studying. Starting in September, Colborne Coffee and Tea House will expand their menu to include breakfast, lunch and dinner options. The café offers loose leaf tea, sold individually or by the pot, and is expected to reach 44 blends by September. They offer build-your-own sandwiches, quiche and grilled cheese with tomato and bacon.

The café helps the city’s economy by buying its meats from local delis, some vegetables from local farmers and the artisan bread from a Burford bakery. They offer some vegan dining options, and are looking into offering some fair trade coffee options. The floor above the café is already renovated and occupied with residents and the neighbouring 4000-square-foot pub is to open in January.

The difference between this pub and the Hawk and Bell, which the brothers previously owned, is that there are no noise restrictions like there was in Harmony Square. “It really got to us because we couldn’t do a lot of live bands,” Reehal said. This pub will include fine-dining, a lounge area, pool tables and live music until three or four o’clock in the morning. “There’s not any other venue like that downtown,” Reehal said.

The Reehal brothers have been doing business together for nearly their entire lives, Reehal said. Next year, the other building they currently house their real estate business in, 80 Colborne St., will be renovated to include a couple floors of student residences.

The café has a front row seat in viewing the construction of the YMCA Athletics and Recreation Centre that recently began. With a new lecture hall for Laurier students, the Colborne Coffee and Tea House and the beginnings of the rec centre, Colborne St. has undergone quite the rejuvenation.

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