Off the Beaten Path – O’Neil Home Gallery & Cafe

“Take the right at the church and we’re just down the road from there.” Travelling along Route 2 from Charlottetown, the directions to O’Neil Home Gallery & Café are fairly straightforward: continue west to Kensington, just go straight when you hit the lights—which takes you onto Route 20, drive until you see the big church in Malpeque, and that’s where you turn.

Scott O’Neil is an artist. He works primarily with oil paint creating beautiful landscapes, seascapes, portraitures, and custom artwork. After years of visiting the Island, Scott and his wife Holly decided it was time the family moved here.

“I really thought that we would buy a place on the eastern end of the Island,” said Scott, but Holly had other ideas. “She wanted me to check out this one spot and as we turned the corner, I just knew this was the place for us.”

The couple purchased the older home in Malpeque in late 2013 and spent the winter renovating it so they could open the gallery in the spring of 2014.

After a season of tourists asking them for a cup of coffee, Scott and Holly realized there was room to expand their business.

Carmelized onino and goat cheese quiche served at the O’Neill Home Gallery//Photo Credit: Grace Kimpinski

“We opened the cafe for a couple of reasons. First, we wanted to answer the needs of the travellers who were looking for a nice place to eat in the area, and second, we wanted to help increase the overall traffic in the area, which helps not only us, but the other businesses.”

Providing a service to both locals and tourists, the cafe is an excellent complement to Scott’s gallery. “When it comes to buying an original piece of art, people want to think about it,” he said.“I often invite potential buyers to think it over. They will sit and enjoy a meal, and I can move the artwork to above the fireplace for them to look at and consider while they dine.”

After an initial tour around the gallery, Scott invites me to look over the menu. I order the caramelized onion and goat cheese quiche, while Scott orders the Malpequer flatbread pizza. While we wait for our meals, Scott tells me that his son works for a fisherman just down the road and Holly makes a daily trip to the wharf to get fresh fish for their menu. He also tells me about the local farmers that the cafe supports, including George McKay and Mike Kowalski. The cafe also features many PEI beverage producers including Caledonia House Coffee, Lady Baker’s Tea, PEI Brewing Company, Matos Winery, and JJ Stewart.

Before long, our meals are served and I am not disappointed. The quiche comes with a fresh garden salad and homemade dressing. It’s delicious. Scott’s pizza is large, so he gives me half to take home. Later on that night I have it for supper and love every bite. What I particularly enjoy about the menu is that it has familiar items served with a bit of a twist making it far from ordinary. Sure, the Malpequer is a pizza, but its toppings are a mix of the familiar—olives, bacon, hot peppers—and the not so familiar—dill pickles. Yes, dill pickles! It sounds, weird, but it’s so scrumptious!

In addition to the cafe and gallery, which can be enjoyed any day until October 1, Scott also host fine art classes every Tuesday and art parties where painting is paired with cocktails—what could be more perfect?!

 

 

About Grace Kimpinski

Grace’s passion to be creative combined with her drive to get things done make her an invaluable member of the Salty team. As the sole-support parent to a teenaged… bottomless-pit… er… son, she strives to be a ‘smart’ food shopper. Although she’s not keen on writing about herself, she is very keen on eating a great BBQ’d meal in summer and a hearty stew in winter.

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