Our beautiful red brick building at the main intersection in Thornbury, Ontario, was built around 1880 and served as a dry goods store and pharmacy in its early days.
In 1968, much-loved Thornbury restaurant owner Henry Wong bought the building. He moved Wongs’ restaurant from the other side of Bruce Street into it in 1974.
Then, in 1989, Jerry and Jackie Chan – known for their friendly smiles, won-ton soup, egg rolls, and take-out – bought Wongs’ and ran it until their retirement in 2015.
Randy Litchfield has long had a weakness for old buildings that need some lovin’. He and his wife, Jane Litchfield, and their 3 kids had been visiting the Thornbury area for years, enjoying skiing, sailing, hiking, fabulous views, and crispy-sweet apples. So when #3 Bruce Street in the heart of Thornbury went up for sale, Randy couldn’t resist.
The Litchfields bought the building in September 2015, with a vision for a community hub where friends and families, non-profits, clubs, and business people could meet and eat. Then Randy and Jane met Adam Politeski, a gregarious local restaurant manager who had a burning desire to open a welcoming place with good food in downtown Thornbury. The Corner Café & Grill was born.
The Litchfields spent 7 months lovingly restoring the building with their son/project manager Jack Litchfield, restaurant manager Adam Politeski, contractor Frank Wyssen, go-to guy Frank McLean, and scores of other talented people. Randy was in there with sleeves rolled up the whole time.
Frank Wyssen’s team repaired the historic red brick and opened up the original arched windows as well as big new windows in The Community Room. Some of the brick they removed now decorates the restaurant.
Randy was excited to expose the historic tin ceiling (and then take it down, fireproof the ceiling, and nail it back up), and the curved wall inside the entrance. Look for the original curved baseboard as you come in our front door.
Inside the walls we found road signs, medicine bottles, a woman’s boot, a WWI newspaper clipping, stubby beer bottles, a beautiful stained-glass transom, and more. Look for these artifacts at The Corner.
It all came together in April 2016 as The Corner Café & Grill opened with a commitment to community, affordability, accessibility, and homemade food with local ingredients.
Upstairs, the Chans’ former residence has been transformed into apartments with prime Thornbury views, available for short-term rentals.