Coffee, comfort food and good conversation at Rustic Roadside Restaurant

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At a roadside restaurant in Gilmour, about halfway between Bancroft and Madoc on Highway 62, there’s a sign above the cash that reads, “The secret ingredient is always love.”

Chalkboard sign reading The Secret Ingredient is Always Love

This statement is certainly true for entrepreneur Maggie Thrasher, co-owner of the newly opened Rustic Roadside Restaurant.

The warmth a customer feels when entering her establishment is nothing short of welcoming. Her hospitality and kindness are demonstrated every time she fills a visitor’s coffee cup or offers them a warm homecooked meal.

Thrasher and her partner Terry Salisbury moved from Belleville to Tudor and Cashel last fall to open the restaurant. It was a perfect fit for the pair, who both love the countryside, the outdoors, and the quiet life offered in Hastings County. With their home and business located on the same property, Thrasher said it’s a win-win situation, and a dream come true for them both.

“This is my happy place, I just love it,” she said. “A lot of people wake up in the morning and they don’t want to go to work. For me, I look forward to it every day … it takes me 31 steps to walk from my house to here. How awesome is that?”

Maggie Thrasher smiling and holding a pastry
Maggie Thrasher (pictured) and her partner Terry Salisbury are the proud new owners of the Rustic Roadside Restaurant. Together they have transformed the space and are serving up home-cooked comfort food and deserts.

For Thrasher, nothing brings her greater joy than being in the kitchen. An old soul, she finds happiness in the simple things: pulling a fresh-baked pie out of the oven, preparing pastry, or cooking a turkey. She’s been demonstrating her love for people through food for the past four decades, working at various restaurants and food trucks.

Image of pies, squares, bread and tarts

She plans to get to know her clientele at Rustic Roadside Restaurant on a first name basis and hopes they will feel comfortable enough to do the same with her.

“I want you to feel welcomed, like you’re having a coffee in someone else’s kitchen,” she said. “This isn’t really our restaurant, it’s the community’s restaurant.”

Residents have already been incredibly supportive since the business opened for takeout a week ago, she said. “I’ve never met a bunch of people who are happier or more incredible, we were welcomed with open arms here.”

Antique oven and antique pot on top with old bags of potatoes on display

The positive response has made the transition a smooth one, especially while indoor dining remains off limits. Despite this, Thrasher remains optimistic about what the future will bring. “If you’re going to make it during a pandemic, you’re going to make it, right? What better time to open,
really? This too will pass.”

She looks forward to a time where the dining room can be full of people and conversation again, adding that owning a restaurant means a lot more to her than just serving great food.

“People are really anticipating a time when they can sit at a table again, and I can’t wait to hear people – to hear the laughter and the chats, that’s a big part of it. I’m excited about the campgrounds being open and people being able to go for a Sunday drive and stop for a milkshake,” she said. “We want to have a place here where people have a coffee and meet with friends.”

Until then, she’ll spend her days doing what she loves and preparing meals to-go. A big believer in finding fulfillment through your work, Thrasher encourages anyone considering quitting their day job to take a leap and follow their dreams.

“I think people should do what makes them happy,” she said, adding that having a successful career isn’tnecessarily about what you know, but more about how you feel.

As for her and her partner’s decision to buy a roadside restaurant – they wouldn’t change a thing.

“This is where we belong,” she said. “We’re grateful (and) we’re happy to be here, but it’s also really nice that people are happy we’re here.”

Rustic Roadside Restaurant Sign

Rustic Roadside Restaurant is currently open every Tuesday to Sunday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. for takeout. It will also be open on holiday Mondays throughout the year. It’s located at 21162 Highway 62 north in
Gilmour. Orders can be placed in person or by phone at 613-474-3838.


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