If you ask any local “where’s a great place to eat in Collingwood?”, Tesoro restaurant in Collingwood Downtown is always mentioned as folks list off their favourite places to dine. Owned and operated by Joelle & Winston Rogers, this charming restaurant offers a traditional Italian menu with a wide range of appetizers, entrées and basic Italian specialties including gourmet thin crust pizza. The food is delicious, the service is impeccable and on the walls of the restaurant you’ll find many beautiful original works of art by local artist Andrew Peycha.
Joelle and Winston moved to Collingwood when their two children were small, primarily to provide them with a healthier environment to thrive than what was offered in the big city. The family lives on an 11 acre hobby farm with fruit trees, berry bushes, chickens, fainting goats, and a Silky Rooster named Pedro. Joelle also has an apiary where she produces her own honey for their additional business, The Batteaux Creek Honey Co. They decided to open a restaurant because it was a natural fit with Joelle’s experience in the food and beverage industry and her interest in how food fits in with a healthy living lifestyle.
The restaurant, which is inside what used to be an old schoolhouse, has now been in business for 20 years and for 16 years Chef Tony Vanderwal has been Joelle’s right hand man. “We’ve offered our signature Chicken Supreme, Spaghetti & Sicilian Meatballs and many other favourite dishes since day one, and when we add a new menu item or feature, we consider feedback, suggestions and requests from our loyal customers. Chef Tony is pretty incredible and comes up with some amazing dishes like our Cioppino Hot Pot. He really does his research. Flavour profiles and presentation are extremely important to him. He’s a chef and he creates his artwork with food instead of paint.” says Joelle.
How have they survived the past two years with all of the restrictions, supply chain issues and staff shortages? Take-out was already in place and their food travels extremely well. Also, they had already established Tesoro Mercato right next door, which is a fantastic European market and deli. The Mercato started when customers asked if they could buy the pasta sauce & meatballs because they couldn’t get a reservation or wanted to have items for a later date. Joelle put a freezer and a few shelves in place in Avalanche, their little gelato parlor next to the restaurant, and the Mercato was born. Joelle soon took over the space next door and today the Mercato offers over 100 house made products, including fresh pasta made daily, frozen entrees, pastas, soups, desserts, hot and cold deli sandwiches as well as a wide selection of specialty foods and giftware. If you’re vegan or gluten free, this is a great place to find some really yummy things.
Joelle and Winston are incredibly thankful for their loyal customers and the very supportive community that is Collingwood. When they do go out for a bite, they particularly like to support other small businesses like the Espresso Post and The Tremont.
We asked Joelle if she had any words of advice for someone thinking of starting up their own business and she said “Do your homework, expect to be married to your business, be dedicated and get ready to roll up your sleeves because it is work hard.”
Today, the restaurant is open from Tuesday to Saturday 4:30PM – 10PM for dine-in and take-out and the Mercato is open Tuesday to Saturday from 10AM – 6PM.
Visit their websitetesororestaurant.ca/ for more information and to check out their menus.