The Miner’s Daughter: A Tribute to Coal Miners of Cape Breton

The dining scene in Sydney Mines, Nova Scotia gained a gem when The Miner’s Daughter Restaurant and Bakery opened its doors earlier this year. After working in the food industry for many years, Sheryl Dauphney, the owner concluded, “now is the time to open a restaurant.” She and Chef Craig Miller share the baking and meal preparation.

Sheryl’s Dad was a coal miner, so the restaurant name is a tribute to him and the many miners from the area. The menu features traditional dishes that miners’ families would have enjoyed over the years. A unique memorial scroll hangs on the wall in the bakery, beside a sign, asking patrons to add names of miners they know. As the sheets are filled, they will be framed and hung on the walls for all to see. Coal mining was the primary industry of this area for more than 100 years.

Location: 220 Memorial Drive, Sydney Mines, Nova Scotia, Canada

Menu: Appetizers and Share-ables include the Pit Boot Platter laden with onion rings, dill pickle chips, wings, mozza sticks, chicken fingers, fries and a tasty garlic loaf. Other choices include a cup of homemade soup, seafood chowder, bruschetta, and loaded potato skins.

Dinner entrée choices include roast turkey dinner with all the trimmings (butter mashed potatoes, homemade stuffing, veggies, gravy, and cranberry sauce), striploin steak with grilled onions, mushrooms, veggies and coleslaw, liver and onions with crispy bacon and fried onions, pork chops with a side of applesauce and coleslaw, spaghetti and meatballs with mom’s sauce and garlic bread. The seafood platter consists of shrimp, scallops, haddock, clams, and cod nuggets, with veggies, tartar sauce, and coleslaw.

A selection of Miner’s Classics, named after the local mines that operated in the area, are also on offer: Prince Mine Hamburger layers an all-beef patty, lettuce, sliced tomato, and pickles on a toasted bun with fries and coleslaw. The Franklin Mine Double-Up Burger Platter includes double all-beef patties, double cheddar, lettuce, tomato slices and pickles on a toasted bun with fries and coleslaw, and the Old Florence 1902 Platter features a burger with onions, cheddar cheese and a smoky BBQ sauce.

The unique platter names came from a brainstorming session with the staff while the menu was being developed.

The dessert menu offers a variety of cheesecakes (chocolate, strawberry, caramel, served with whipped cream), fresh fruit pies, maple bread pudding, and Grandma’s coconut cream pie.

Canadian wine and beer are featured to accompany your meal. With the upcoming holidays, Sheryl shared that she is planning a variety of festive drinks, though the details are still under wraps.

Daily specials offer pizza, poutine (french fries and cheese curds topped with brown gravy) or chicken fingers, with a soft drink, to the local high school students.

Thoughts: As you walk in the main door, on the far wall, you see large silver letters spelling out the name of the restaurant superimposed on a large mural of the Princess Mine, one of the larger mines in the area. On the right side are tasty offerings from the showcase- cheesecakes, red velvet cake, luscious lemon squares, chocolate brownies drizzled with vanilla and butterscotch icing. On the opposite wall are shelves filled with packets of four huge cinnamon rolls as well as jars of preserves, both sweet jams and savory pickles.

Turning left, you enter the dining room where tables for 2-8 persons are bathed in natural light streaming in from the large windows that fill the front and back walls. Waitstaff, many of whom are children and grandchildren of miners, are smiling, friendly, knowledgeable, and accommodating. Daily specials are posted on their Facebook page.
Locally sourced ingredients are used in all menu items.

Having enjoyed several meals there, I can verify that the fish and chips, the vegetable beef soup, the turkey noodle soup, toasted pastrami sandwich and their signature dish, turkey dinner with all the trimmings, are worth the visit.

Price Range: Student Menu (M-F) $5-6; Appetizers and Share-ables-
$3.25-19.50; Miner’s Classics- $9.50-12.99; Salads- $5.50-10.50; Dinner Entrees-$10.99-$22.50; Desserts- $6-$7.50; Breakfast- $6.99-13.50.

Guest Reviewer Bio: Maude Bailey is a native Cape Bretoner who has returned to her roots after being away for many years. Following her husband around for 35 years as he served in the Canadian Air Force, and spending 15 years teaching English in Kuwait, she had the opportunity to travel to more than 50 countries on 4 continents. Having recently completed the Ultimate Travel Writer’s course with Great Escape Publishing, she is using her retirement to travel and learn even more

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