SECOND HOME Alison Schmidt of Second Home Cafe and Grill chose the name of the restaurant to reflect her commitment to home and family. (John Arendt/Summerland Review)

Summerland restaurant owner seeks to create home-like mood

Alison Schmidt of Second Home Cafe and Grill focuses on home and family

The Summerland Review is running a series featuring profiles of business people in the community.

This week, we sat down with Alison Schmidt of Second Home Cafe and Grill.

“Home” and “family” are more than words for Alison Schmidt, owner of Second Home Cafe and Grill in Summerland. They are essential concepts which have affected how she runs her business.

She sees her customers as family and the restaurant as a place where they can feel at home.

“I really love my customers,” she said. “I’ve developed a relationship with each one and I like seeing them satisfied.”

A year and a half ago, Schmidt changed the name from Santorini’s to Second Home as a way to emphasize this home-like atmosphere.

While the restaurant is a second home for many customers, it has also served as a second home for Schmidt.

She worked at the restaurant in the past, when it was still known as Santorini’s. Then, seven years ago, she bought the business from then owner Gerald Blystone, who now works for Schmidt.

Today, her commitment to home and family continues as her children, nieces and nephews have worked at the restaurant.

Because of her commitment to her own family the restaurant’s hours were changed when the name was changed.

While Santorini’s served breakfast, lunch and dinner, Second Home serves breakfast and lunch, but closes at 2 p.m.

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The change in hours allows Schmidt to spend evenings with her husband Jason, her 17-year-old daughter Tianna and her 15-year-old son Tyrell. Her daughter is a horse rider and her son is a basketball player.

“It wasn’t an easy decision,” she said, reflecting on the shift in hours, “but I wanted more time with my family.”

The menu today has a variety of breakfast and lunch choices. “There’s something for everyone on the menu,” she said.

The eggs Benedict is the most popular breakfast item.

Among the lunch choices, the classic lasagne, a holdover from the Santorini’s menu is a popular choice. So is the borscht.

The best-kept lunch menu secret? The Cuban, a pulled pork sandwich on sourdough.

Schmidt is also committed to supporting the community and has opened her doors to local organizations and fundraisers.

Each year in late November or early December, the restaurant holds a breakfast fundraiser to support the Summerland Fire Department’s Toys and Toonies for Tots and Teens toy drive. She also serves breakfast to the Summerland Rotary Club for the club’s Tuesday morning meetings.

A car club and a fundraiser to provide aid in Bangladesh are other local organizations she continues to host.

The restaurant is available for after-hours functions and celebrations, such as a recent retirement party which was held there.

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