Ottawa: Dining out on vintage at Aunt Olive’s

Part café, part clothing store, Ottawa’s Aunt Olive’s (209 Gilmour St., 613-565-0564) allows customers to shop for eclectic and kitschy vintage finds while grabbing a bite to eat.

Owner, seamstress and chef, Jamie Garner, hunts for men and women’s vintage clothes in Toronto, Montreal and New York, and tailors them for fit.

“It doesn’t matter what era, though I’m partial to the ’50s and ’70s,” she says. “It’s a lot of work, but it’s fun.”

The shop is named after Garner’s Aunt Olive, who had a “wild sense of fashion,” and it’s hard to look somewhere without a glimpse of eye candy–whether it’s a silk cobalt scarf ($8) or a red wool, military-style peacoat ($65). Among the jewellery delicately strewn over lamps and night tables are chunky wooden bangles ($8). A pair of brown, leather lace-up shoes ($20), reminiscent of Amelia Earhart, sits temptingly on a shoe rack by the front door.

In a world where Starbucks cups are seen as accessories, this shop offers something a little different: After shopping, sit in mismatched chairs, grab a menu (adorned in old Harlequin novels) and order fresh selections like prosciutto and pear with brie on dark rye.

By Brittany Mahaney

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