The Craftsman Restaurant – Paudash’s Original Country Diner (since 1955 and still cookin’!)

One of the things that makes the Bancroft area such an incredible place to live is the sense of community. You see it everywhere, from the clubs, to the arts, to the school sports teams, to the businesses.

One local businesses that stands out in terms of its close knit family-like community is the Craftsman Restaurant in Paudash. It makes sense, it’s run by a family, and has been for the last 27 years. But there’s more to it than that. Jim and Ramona have built the Craftsman around their values – you can read about them here – and you can feel it when you walk in the door. There’s a relaxed vibe. Everyone seems to know each other. You’ll hear people laughing and asking one another how their gardens are coming along, or how the grandkids are doing. In fact, you might even see Jim and Ramona’s grandkids running about, asking for lollypops. If you check out the Burger of the Week board you might see a burger named after a regular customer…although, you’ll never hear Jim or Ramona use the word “customer.” Nope – the people who come to dine at the Craftsman are “guests.” 

 Three generations at the Craftsman; drop by around Easter and you might see Ramona chasing her Grandkids around, dressed as a bunny!

Three generations at the Craftsman; drop by around Easter and you might see Ramona chasing her Grandkids around, dressed as a bunny!

 Comfort food meets innovation; every week the Craftsman Crew dreams up a new burger of the week, which has resulted in a strong fan base of burger-lovers.

Comfort food meets innovation; every week the Craftsman Crew dreams up a new burger of the week, which has resulted in a strong fan base of burger-lovers.

 For the past 27 years Jim and Ramona have built the Craftsman around the values in the core of their hearts.

For the past 27 years Jim and Ramona have built the Craftsman around the values in the core of their hearts.

“Our guests aren’t just customers, they’re part of the Craftsman community,” says Ramona.

That’s why you’ll also hear people talking about more than just gardens and grandkids. You’ll hear people talking candidly about their pains and struggles, too; there’s an honesty, and an authenticity that flows through the building. When you look around, you see evidence of it everywhere. There are photos on the walls of guests, past and present, and collections of antiques that Jim has gathered over the years, many of them gifts from regulars.

“We just received a neat old licence plate in the mail from a gentleman who had been in and seen our collection of odds and ends. He thought we’d like it and took the time to wrap it up with a note and send it to us,” beams Jim. He’s since hung it on the wall just outside the kitchen.

It’s not uncommon to walk into the Craftsman and see several tables of guests all caught up in conversation with each other, even if they didn’t know each other when the first arrived. It’s just that kind of place.

And of course it’s reflected in the food. That’s what keeps everyone coming back. That same love for community and authenticity that has kept the Craftsman family tight for all these years has also shaped the menu into something the community has embraced. You’ll find wholesome comfort food, locally sourced ingredients (some from Jim and Ramona’s own gardens), vibrant health conscious choices, and wonderfully delicious indulgences. You’ll find the kind of things you’d be proud to serve in your own home to the people you love. Jim and Ramona say they make “real food for real people.” They’ve also made a real place for real people. A real special place.

You can find more information about The Craftsman on their website at www.CraftsmanRestaurant.ca or find them on Facebook or Twitter (by the way, Jim posts his specials on Twitter everyday @CraftsmanYummy!