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Group of 3 put heads, hearts, and sandwiches together to open deli

'Honestly, it doesn't feel like going to work,' says founding partner of Brightside Deli

One of Collingwood's newest eateries brings three entrepreneurs together for new venture.

BrightSide Deli, located at the corner of Hurontario and Simcoe St., is the brainchild of three partners: Jenni Booth, Lisa Santos, and Derek Muscat. With a shared vision and diverse expertise, the trio set out to create a space that caters to the community's diverse culinary needs.

Booth, who previously owned a restaurant in Collingwood, said he saw a gap in the local culinary scene about a decade ago — the absence of a deli-style eatery specializing in fresh sandwiches. Last year, she joined forces with Santos, who has experience in management, retail, and a background in nutrition, as well as Muscat, a graphic designer experienced in marketing and social media, and together, they got to work creating something that could fill that gap. 

All three individuals have families and shared an interest in opening an establishment that not only served the community but also provided a work-life balance. In just a matter of months, they located the ideal space and successfully converted a former clothing store into a deli-inspired eatery.

“Fresh, fast and affordable is what we’re hoping for,” said Booth. “We really wanted to create a space that was very inviting.”

The menu focuses on freshness, with the deli roasting its own pork loin, beef, ham, chicken, and smoked meat on-site. All soups and sauces are also made in-house, and each sandwich is prepared to order. The deli also aims to accommodate various dietary preferences and restrictions, offering gluten-free, vegetarian, and vegan options. 

“We want it to be really good, really fresh,” said Booth. “The inspiration for the menu was coming up with things that could be made almost exclusively in-house.”

BrightSide Deli officially opened on Nov. 21, 2023 and the community's feedback has been great so far, say the owners. Their goal was to create an inviting atmosphere, suitable for meetings, solo work, or social gatherings. With a liquor license in place, they also aimed to make the space appealing to customers seeking a more sociable dining experience.

All of the founders are happy with the positive response and look forward to serving the community even more.

“We’re really happy to be a part of the Collingwood business community,” said Booth. “Everyone is really supportive of each other, regardless of what your actual business is.”

In addition to dine-in options, the deli offers take-out, with a roughly equal balance between in-house dining and takeout orders during the week. Most items can be prepared within five minutes, catering to the needs of customers working downtown and on a tight schedule.

The deli also provides catering services to local businesses, including providing sandwiches for Alpine Ski Club on weekends.

Looking ahead, BrightSide Deli plans to host events and make the space available for private functions. As a family-run establishment, the deli's founders emphasize their enjoyment of the business and the flexibility it offers to their families.

“Honestly, it doesn’t feel like I am going to work,” said Booth. “The hours are conducive to our families so that is nice. And having three partners allows for additional flexibility. It’s exactly what we were hoping for.”

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Maddie Johnson

About the Author: Maddie Johnson

Maddie Johnson is an early career journalist working in financial, small business, adventure and lifestyle reporting. She studied Journalism at the University of King's College, and worked in Halifax, Malta and Costa Rica before settling in Collingwood
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