The Vic Café: a Pleasantly Pink County Gem. Katy Kristiansen
Just like people, I like my dining nooks to be what they imply, and thankfully The Vic Café heartily delivers on its manifesto of ‘fresh and fun.’ Everything from the bright exterior to the vibrant inside, delivers through to its very pleasant owners, Sonya and Rick Szabo.
In 2015, Sonya and Rick moved their family to Prince Edward County, from South Africa and became owners of The Vic Café initially at the original location, nestled alongside the historic Regent Theatre. It grew to the point that Rick had to join the business.
I was a fan of the old Vic Café location, with its metropolitan euro-café vibe, delicious sandwiches and Parisienne-style coffee. One could imagine ghosts of past loves, morning coffees spent within these walls, and it was also a favourite lunch haunt for Mom and I. So, I was a little curious about this new direction for the Vic Café.
“When Rick joined the business we wanted every aspect of the new place to appeal to both of us from the décor to the menu. We loved old American diners with generous portion sizes, where people were literally rolled out the door after eating. We also wanted a place that was intentionally not gender-specific, for instance even the bathrooms are neither male nor female,” explains Sonya.
Therefore, although heavily clad in pink, do not fear the anything but dainty large hungry-people breakfast aptly named the ‘Queens Big Breakfast’ —three eggs, tater tots, bacon, sausages, beans, garlic mushrooms, tomatoes, and toast. I watched the guy next to me grin when it arrived.
Thankfully, the change works. The new Vic’s shell is wrapped in crayon splashes of colour bringing life to an otherwise boring concrete building. You will find the same quality food and drink, but with a freshness that grips you all at once, with its lively music, warm staff, and the quirky ceiling ‘pick-up-stick’ art installation. It is also much larger with forty seats, doubling to eighty if you count the patio. It’s a variation on the bistro theme to a more festive, cheerfully sweet modern diner. Even the raw sugar on the tables are filled with hundreds and thousands of sugary colour buds. As a customer you too can add to the ‘cheer’ by colouring in the place mats—fun for young and the not-so-young.
You can tell a lot about a place by how it makes you feel. It can be pleasantly pink, but the experience should be well-rounded out by its food and people.
“We like to put staff first.”
After travelling throughout America the Szabos ended up in South Africa where they worked in a mission to restore community among youth, “This work taught us you can do things you never thought you could do. When you are teaching two hundred kids, where you can’t speak the language—we learned resilience and confidence. And also the importance of community.”
They are actively involved in the PEC community, committed to boot-strapping small business and sustaining growth in The County.
The Vic Café, like its owners aims to be consistent. Staff are treated like family, and so are the customers. Hearty sized portions are hard to finish but you will enjoy trying, perched on a swivel bar stool or at a tidy tucked up table alongside the window booth. I was grateful to share the avocado toast with, pumpkin seeds, pickled onion toast, followed by a Breakfast Poutine of tots, bacon, and sausage drowned in a creamy rich hollandaise sauce. Other menu choices include; ‘Benny & the Jets’ their take on traditional eggs benedict, along with fluffy stacks of pancakes, smoothies, salads, burgers, daily soups, sandwiches, curry, desserts, and a handy kids’menu.
“We are proud to have a gluten-free fryer so as to be as celiac friendly as possible, and vegetarian, vegan options too,” said Sonya. “No one leaves the Vic Café hungry!”
And, roll out the door we did.
For more information about the The Vic Café, visit www.theviccafe.com or follow them on Facebook and Instagram.