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  • Writer's pictureOEV BIA

Willie's Cafe Celebrates their New Space in Somerville 630

Willie's Cafe owner, Ian Kennard

Of the many delicious restaurant options in Old East Village, Willie’s Cafe is certainly a long-time favourite. Having opened more than 35 years ago in their original Downtown London location, Willie’s moved to OEV in 2016, setting up shop in the former London Food Incubator at 630 Dundas Street. Offering up cafe classics made from fresh, local ingredients, customers came to love the soups, salads, sandwiches, baked goods, housemade drinks and more, and this certainly has not changed!

According to owner Ian Kennard, the original plan was to sell the Downtown business and retire. But when he heard about things happening in OEV and perused the space at what’s now Somerville 630, he “thought it had a great energy and wanted to be part of it.” On top of that, most of the staff at Willie’s live in the neighbourhood so the close connection runs deep.

Treats upon treats, including gluten-free options!

Fast forward to the fall of 2021 and the time had come for Willie’s to make the move from the back to the front of Somerville 630, undergoing large scale renovations to expand their dining area, cafe options, and open hours.

Speaking of the new, improved, and open space filled with natural light, Ian told us “it feels like what Willie’s is supposed to be. The feel, look, and energy of the space, it’s what it’s supposed to be.” And no one could argue with that when enjoying the warm and welcoming atmosphere along with a morning coffee and tasty breakfast sandwich - each a new addition that is ripe and ready for you at 8am, Monday to Friday.

Serving up that perfect morning jo!

As a business, Willie’s is all about community and they don’t just say it, Ian and his staff show it. In fact, every “Make a Difference” Monday, you can add $5 to your order and a sandwich will be delivered to someone in need. This includes partnerships with such organizations as Ark Aid Street Mission and My Sister’s Place.

Now offering doughnuts!

Ian told us that these initiatives have been “well-received” and were a change from their previous location in which they’d donate to charities or offer gift cards. Here however, as a business and staff deeply rooted in the neighbourhood, these endeavours are a way for them to “build relationships with the community and build a community for everyone to be part of,” he said.

So, now that you know a bit more about this local business gem and have obviously stopped to check out the menu, Willie’s Cafe in OEV should definitely be your next stop! However, we know so many delicious options can be a touch overwhelming, so if you need a little help, we’ve got you covered.

Take a little Willie's home with you!

According to staff, customer favourites include the Cranberry Turkey Wrap and the Cuban Sandwich or if you’d like to try what Ian himself eats every Tuesday, be sure to order the Jerk Chicken, you won’t be disappointed! While perusing, take a peek at the many different options this establishment offers including their Icebox featuring Mac N’ Cheese, Lasagna, Shepherd’s Pie and more! Don’t forget to check out the long list of dessert square and other treats, made in house. Did we mention homemade Iced Tea and Lemonade? Yes, they’ve got that too!

There's something for everybody.

Be sure to check out the full menu and catering options this one-stop cafe shop has to offer right here.

When Willie’s reopened in their expanded space in December 2021, they only had eight days before holidays and dining restrictions hit. Now, however, they’re open and ready to welcome you back to share in this bright and lovely space that has been created. Ian told us, he’s most excited to start seeing customers in person again and welcome them into this brand new Willie’s. As if the menu wasn’t reason enough, stop by, say ‘hi,’ and ‘congrats’ to Ian and staff for what they’ve accomplished to date, and every day.

Bright light and fresh flowers in the morning... what more could you want!

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