Bienvenue à . . . Omemee?! Mickaël’s Café expands          

By Jamie Morris

Mickaël Durand is now open for business in Omemee. Photo: Devin Cross.

It’s been three years since Breton baker and entrepreneur Mickaël Durand opened Mickaël’s Cafe Librairie, Lindsay’s first — and still only — boulangerie, tapping into the town’s previously unsuspected appetite for croissants, brioche, sourdough breads, and baguettes.

The growth has been formidable: more selection (everything from bagels and German pretzels to Norwegian bread), expanded hours (8 am to 5 pm daily), a staff that has grown from three to 15, increased availability (including stalls at no fewer than eight farmer’s markets in a region that stretches from Sutton to Peterborough and Stanhope to Uxbridge), and the option of online ordering of the most popular items for pick-up.

The most recent change is one that gives a whole new meaning to “Cafe Librairie:”  Mickaël has just opened a cafe in Omemee, adjacent to the Omemee branch of the Kawartha Lakes Public Library, a branch that has emerged as the fourth busiest in the system. (Okay, French for “library” is “bibliotheque,” but librairie next to library does feels fortuitous, non?).

It was back in April that Mickaël saw a “For Lease” sign while driving through Omemee on his way to the Peterborough Farmer’s Market. “It was a perfect location,” he says, “fifteen minutes from Lindsay and with a high volume of traffic.” On close inspection there was more to like, too: “Everything was there — big windows and accessible doors, all the electrical in place, and space for a display counter, prep and shelving.”

He took possession June 1 and began readying the space. A compact prep space was equipped and cafe tables and chairs — seating for 20 — arrived. The wall adjoining the library is exposed brick; the other walls were given a fresh lick of paint.

Omemee’s main street has been given a face lift thanks to the City’s Million Dollar Makeover. Mickaël wants his cafe to be a comfortable, welcoming addition, and to fit in to the community.  Instead of photos of, say, the Eiffel Tower or Chateaugiron, there are serene views of barns and rural landscapes by Jon Faulknor, whom Mickaël met at the Coboconk Farmer’s Market. And joining Mickaël’s assistant, Devin, and Isobeau from the Lindsay bakery will be Charleigh, a Weldon grad who lives just outside Omemee.

The cafe has, Mickaël explains, “Everything we couldn’t do at the Lindsay location — crepes and sandwiches along with specialty coffees.”

Each morning the full range of baked goods will be picked up by Charleigh from Lindsay for enjoying in the cafe or purchasing to take home. More can be baked on-site.

The cafe is open from 8 am to 5 pm from Tuesday to Saturday. During times when both the cafe and the library are in operation the doors between the two will be open and people will be able to move freely between them.

That’s exciting news for Library CEO Jamie Anderson and branch librarian Bill Scholey. “What goes better with a good book than a nice pastry and maybe a cup of coffee?” asks Anderson, going on to note, “Having the two locations next door will help draw people to both locations.”

Up next for Mickaël?  

Change is a constant for Mickaël. “The way the cafe is now isn’t the way it will be in six months” he says. Expect an evolution.

Expect changes here in Lindsay, too; in fact, a large notice now fills the window of what was the “Gear House,” across from the bakery: “Opening this Fall: a New Cafe by Mickaël.”

C’est bon!

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