A Closer Look at a New Thunder Bay Eatery

Story by Susan Pretty, Photos by Keegan Richard

It’s hard to know exactly where to look when you enter Nomad on Bay for the first time.  Is it their fridge stocked full of bevvies, the sweets on the counter, the clever nooks and crannies with local wares, or the fantastical bread display at the back? 

Despite what is going on in the world, owners Nikos Mantis and Shawna Deagle found themselves opening a place where folks could take out some home-baked goods, build-your-own sammies, and indulgent breakfasts, all washed down with fresh Rose N Crantz coffee. Mantis was at Calico Coffeehouse with his daughters and noticed the “For Lease” sign across the street, and that’s when he had his revelation. Despite having to gut the place and rebuild it from the ground up, they opened for business in December 2020 and have been going non-stop ever since. “The response for employment was overwhelming,” Deagle says. “We had more resumes than we had openings. People just wanted to get out of the house and work.”

The sandwich bar menu is a sight to behold, etched on five cascading birch signs (kudos @pawoodcraft!) With Brandon the sandwich wizard standing by the gourmet sandwich bar, all sammies are made to order. The bread is baked fresh daily, and customers have their pick of no less than eight types. Meats are smoked and brined in-house, and the condiment section alone deserves significant pondering. (Brandon recommends the Nomad bomba, saying the sandwiches he’s made for himself do not go without this miracle spread.) Fresh veg and an array of local cheeses seal the deal.

Now for the crepe bar. With a choice of sweet and savoury, patrons will delight in watching these being made before their eyes. The savoury delights include Veggie Ninja, The Gobbler, and All-Day Breakfast (Sleeping Giant Brewing Co. candied stout bacon is the showstopper here), and the kids will squeal over Banana Nutella, Strawberries & Cream, and Finn Pancake. The crepes are served in traditional paper cones, the way they do in France, where one peels away the top layer as you munch your way on down.

There are plenty of frozen take-and-bake items as well. Strawberry rhubarb custard pie is the bestseller, Deagle says. All pies are made at their catering facility and the crusts are not only light and flaky, but are perfectly pinched by their expert pie maker. Dinner is done by selecting a savoury pie. The steak and potato pie is a wonder, with braised beef and a touch of red wine.

“Although still in its infancy, we have been so humbled by the support our friends, neighbours and the greater community has already shown to our new shop,” Mantis says. “We are so grateful to have the great people of [Northwestern Ontario] behind us.”

Nomad on Bay is open Monday to Friday from 7 am to 5 pm, and weekends from 10 am to 3 pm.