"Marvelously fresh cuisine. A delightful meal "
- Katherine and Andrew Toms
Proprietor and Head Chef Sheldon Russell, was born and raised in Sheffield, England. After apprenticeship and graduation at The Western Isles Hotel in Tobermory on The Isle of Mull, Scotland, Sheldon moved to London, England. There, he worked at Brown’s Hotel and became their youngest ever Chef de Partie. Later, he moved to The Grosvenor House Hotel in Park Lane, then on to The Royal Lancaster Hotel in Bayswater Road.
In 1975 Sheldon took the opportunity to move to Canada to work in the kitchens of The Church Restaurant here in Stratford, Ontario. He moved to Orangeville in 1982 to become Head Chef of the then new, Greystones Restaurant, before returning to ‘The Church‘ in 1988 as co-owner and Chef de Cuisine.
The Keystone began as The Nut Club purchased by Sheldon and a partner in 1983. At the time, it was a popular eating establishment owned by Kay Waterman. The Keystone Alley Cafe was named after the well-known Keystone Bakery located on these premises earlier. The ‘alley‘ in the current name describes the area adjacent to the restaurant used for patio dining in the summer months. Over the years, many improvements have been made, including the building of an extensive kitchen and main floor guest washrooms.
Sheldon and his wife Patty Hawkins - Russell returned as sole owners of The Keystone Alley Café in 1998. A year later they added The Key’d Inn, allowing them to offer stylish bed and breakfast accommodation. The Inn consists of two spacious suites situated above the restaurant.
Both offer beautiful hardwood flooring, en suite whirlpool spa baths, king or twin beds, fridge, microwave, coffee maker, satellite TV, Wi-Fi and share a communal dining and sitting room area with a fireplace and roof top garden terrace. An extended continental breakfast is provided by our experienced chefs. Private parking is situated at the rear of the premises, accessed from Albert Street.
For three decades The Keystone Alley Café has continually evolved, from its start as a small coffee shop into the popular casual fine dining restaurant that you see today. Sheldon attributes his success to a humble upbringing, hard work, his understanding of fine cuisine and the tradition of passing on that knowledge to the next generation of young chefs.