Sono’s Cafe in Virgil, formerly the Donut Diner, is not without its coffee groups.
He has up to four tables often filled in one corner, and a couple in the other, from about 8 a.m. on. Last Friday, there were three tables occupied, two with regulars who meet often in the morning, the third two who popped in for breakfast and joined the conversation. Some of them have been enjoying their coffee in their chosen corner for 20 years or more, when Mahmoud Sono and his wife, with one small boy — now 22, with a 19-year-old brother —opened the Donut Diner in 1996, the first coffee shop with a drive-through in Niagara-on-the-Lake.
Of the originals, Bruce Hall, was celebrating his 85th birthday, and he remembers starting his morning at the Donut Diner when he retired at the age of 65.
Some of the regulars are newcomers, but describe the impromptu coffee klatch as groups that met in other places, but started to merge, keeping to their corner.
Topics of conversation? One that has cropped up several times amongst coffee groups around town: the delays at the new sewage treatment plant, which is of special interest to Hall, who worked at the existing plant during his career on Regional staff. There has been chatter around town going back years about the issues with the new plant, says Hall, which delayed the testing it is now undergoing.
Asked if anyone enjoys a Homestead doughnut served at the coffee shop, Bob Thompson is quick to joke, “no, I enjoy two — a long john for each hand.”
Also popular are the fresh, home-made pastries baked at the coffee shop each morning — there is no shortage of choice, although they’re usually gone by noon, says Sono — the early bird gets the doughnut.