From chef to owner; how one Torbay woman is continuing the legacy of a beloved community business.
Word spread fast in the town of Torbay when The Traditional Coffee House and Deli announced that its doors were permanently shut.
The unexpected news was devastating to residents as the establishment had become one of the town’s most loved spots.
Staff were upset, not just because they had lost their jobs, but because they had to say goodbye to a place that felt like home.
Lorina Squires, a chef at the restaurant, was especially heartbroken.
“I was upset, as you can imagine,” said Squires. “Eight years working here and, like, this is my livelihood.”
She started working at the business just four months after it opened, and was with it until the very end.
Oct. 20 was like any regular Friday. Squires finished her shift at 2 p.m. Later that evening, the phone rang. It was her now former boss.
“She said, ‘I’m closing,’” said Squires in disbelief. “I said when … ‘as of now. I just shut the doors at 3 p.m.’”
Squires was shocked.
After being together for nearly eight years, the co-workers are like her own family and she wasn’t going to turn her back on them or the community.
“I think it was maybe three hours after I found out, I jumped into gear,” said Squires. “I rented the building, then within a couple of days after that I bought all the equipment, and the very next day after that, I phoned all the staff and hired them all back on.”
Squires took to social media shortly after to make the announcement the business wasn’t going anywhere.
“I couldn’t see this place empty.”Lorina Squires
The post received over 150 shares, nearly 300 reactions, and nearly 200 comments.
Squires knew people would be happy to hear the news, but says she never expected the reaction to be that massive.
Lara Maynard is one of many residents excited for the re-opening.
“Those of us who live in Torbay and surrounding communities are delighted that there’s somewhere with the quality of food that The Traditional Coffee House has served,” said Maynard. “And knowing that Lorina was the cook there, we can, I think, look forward to that same quality again.”
Residents like Maynard are thrilled they’ll still get to taste the homemade food they know and love.
The Traditional Coffee House and Deli, says Squires, will reopen as Lorina’s in the New Year.
“I was so overwhelmed with support,” said Squires. “I still am because it’s still happening. It’s constant – hundreds and hundreds of messages.”
She wipes tears from her eyes as she talks about what it means to her.
“I couldn’t see this place empty,” said Squires. “You see the same people all the time. Like, you almost know what time they’re walking in the door. So, you know, it’s like a big family.”
She says she wants to continue the legacy of what the business once was.
Her goal is to keep the customers coming, and everybody, including her staff, happy.
“I just hope to see everybody back,” said Squires. “I can’t wait to see all the familiar faces walking in the door. I can’t wait.”
Torbay’s mayor Craig Scott, like many of the residents in the community, says he was disappointed when he heard the restaurant was closing.
“They had a really good reputation, so it was really sad to see them closed down,” said the mayor.
The business was extremely involved in the community, he says, which made it even better.
On Thursday nights, the restaurant would host the Torbay Folk Arts Council for an evening of music.
Local musicians would play live, and people would reserve tables weeks in advance just to be sure they got a spot.
It was a place for the community to come together, says the mayor. People would eat, chat, dance, and sing.
“The restaurant is going to get a new lease on life.”
Abby Butler is a student journalist studying at the College of the North Atlantic. A lover of photography from a young age, she aims to tell her stories as much through photos as she does through writing.