• The Cornerstone

  • 3.0 stars
    (50 reviews, average rating: 3.2/5)
  • Cuisines: American (Traditional)
  • (519) 827-0145
  • 1 Wyndham Street North Guelph, ON N1H 4E2
  • Neighbourhoods: East
Recommend Restaurant?
10 people have voted
60% of voters recommend
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Restaurant Details
Price range
$$ ($11-$25)
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jimbo
1 Review
2012/10/07
  • mediocre food, appalling service
  • Overall
    2.0 stars
    • Food
      2.0 stars
    • Services
      1.0 star
    • Atmosphere
      2.0 stars
    • Price Range (per person): $11-$25
    • Visit Again?: No
    • Party Size: 2
  • Notice how many reviewers remark that service is 'casual' or less charitably, 'slow'. The service here is appalling. You'll be ignored for long periods of time especially if you don't fit their carefully cultivated alternative image. The salads are limp and overdressed. The so called world famous antijitos are pretty average. Coffee is expensive and it will take forever to get a refill. The only thing good here is the draft beer - a nice selection. I guess there are enough people in Guelph that like the eco-image and are willing to ignore the food and service. Otherwise I have no idea how it can stay in business.

  • Order: Beers, salads, antijito, dessert
 
LuvDaFood
10 Reviews
2012/08/07
  • Great place to eat if you have time. Food is...
  • 3.0 stars
  • Great place to eat if you have time. Food is 4, service is 2. Maybe the small kitchen? Still, relaxed place with flavour

 
millie
3 Reviews
2012/01/29
  • cosy atmosphere, relaxed good food
  • Overall
    4.0 stars
    • Food
      4.0 stars
    • Services
      3.0 stars
    • Atmosphere
      4.0 stars
    • Price Range (per person): $0-$10
    • Visit Again?: Yes
    • Party Size: 3
  • food is great, relaxed can just drop in for coffee or snack, read paper, check emails or have a meal with friends. Love the place

  • Order: tempeh rheuben sandwich
 
Betty
2 Reviews
2011/07/12
  • was a regular, never again. downhill.
  • Overall
    2.0 stars
    • Food
      2.0 stars
    • Services
      1.0 star
    • Atmosphere
      3.0 stars
    • Price Range (per person): $11-$25
    • Visit Again?: No
    • Party Size: 2
  • Let's start with the good: Yes, this place is vegetarian with lots of vegan dishes which is great in theory.

    Yes, the tofu cheesecake really is amazing.

    I used to be a regular here, as I work in downtown Guelph and am vegetarian, but I decided this past Saturday after another sub-sub par meal to stop giving my money to the Cornerstone. I'm sorry to do so, but hey, owner Mark Rogstad, you drove me to it! You need to get some decent staff and service here, but it seems that you get away without providing good service, so I don't expect that things will ever improve.

    I can't recommend this restaurant to anyone anymore except for coffee or a beer or to catch a band.

    Servers / cooks will $%^^ up left right and centre and still charge full price for the meal, plus give you attitude for daring to complain.

    The food is just too hit and miss, and the service is the same. Here are some of the worst experiences I have had eating here:

    -server doesn't come to my table for over 15 minutes after I've sat down; I leave before even being offered a drink and explain why.

    -server forgets order entirely and I end up waiting 45 minutes for meal, after having to remind server of my order. I still am charged full price.

    -order an omelette special: receive some eggs with RAW omelette ingredients inside. This was the worst breakfast and cost me over $10 dollars.

    -breakfast special: consistantly dry / old / overcooked home fries (they call 'em rostis)

    -over half an hour sometimes to receive breakfast

    -request eggs cooked a certain way and kitchen does not follow through.

    -having to wait over 10 minutes to get a coffee in the morning.

    ___

    I went last Saturday July 9, 2011 for lunch. I wanted to keep it simple so I ordered a green salad and some toast. The green salad had barely any dressing, and some of the greens were slimy / going bad: the greens hadn't been prepped properly. I myself finished prepping the salad by taking the bad bits to the side of the plate and leaving the good.

    When I pointed this out to the server after she asked me how the meal was, her response was very unprofessional. She told me that these bits of slimy, going bad greens were in the salad because "it's fresh and organic." I asked her if she would eat what I'd put on the side of my plate. She responded with a snide "Do you want me to eat it?" rather than an apology. Of course I was still charged for the salad.

    Oh, and the place really needs a good scrub and some TLC, maybe some flowers, definitely all new staff and more attention to detail.

    It would be nice too if there were some seasonal dishes; the menu really hasn't changed much in years.

  • Order: breakfast special, omelette special, pad thai, soup, chili, salad, dessert
 
knivesversusspoons
1 Review
2011/05/25
  • home away from home
  • Overall
    5.0 stars
    • Food
      5.0 stars
    • Services
      4.0 stars
    • Atmosphere
      5.0 stars
    • Price Range (per person): $11-$25
    • Visit Again?: Yes
    • Party Size: 2
  • I feel compelled to write a review of one of my favourite restaurants in Guelph, The Cornerstone, in response to a few unfavourable remarks I've seen on this website. This restaurant has been a home away from home for me for a long time; its inviting and casual atmosphere, huge ceilings and windows, open kitchen and unisex washrooms are a welcome change from box stores serving the same old expectations. The Cornerstone, I feel, strives for a more relaxed eating environment, and the service and seating reflects their attitude towards slowing down, and enjoying the experience of a fresh made meal with good company. The place itself is tiny - about twelve tables inside with the kitchen and coffee bar in an open-concept layout, and they add a five-table patio outside in the summer - and they don't take reservations, which can make for a wait sometimes, especially during their famous brunches (weekends 9-2, they do a daily omelette and fritatta, a scrambled tofu, migas, breakfast bagel, etc...), but if you're patient, the food is definitely worth it. All the food is fresh, prepared in house daily, and caters to a variety of dietary needs, specifically vegan and gluten-free options. The Pad Thai is one of my favourite dishes that The Cornerstone serves, and in fact I like it better there than anywhere else. Indeed, Pad Thai is a dish that has a certain expectation, and theirs being done to a vegan standard it is slightly different (vegetable oyster sauce instead of fish oil, I believe), but I have never left disappointed - the mixed vegetables, seasoned and fried tofu and topping of cilantro and lime make the Cornerstone's Pad Thai a perfect combination. Also excellent to try are the Sweet Potato Quesadillas, a sweet and mild variation on the usual with Brie and jalapenos; the Cornerstone Club (my other favourite), with tomato, romaine, tofu, vegan mayo and avocado; the vegan Tempeh Reuben, an incredible creation of tempeh, sourkraut, pickles and reuben dressing on thick cut house made bread, served with soup or your choice of salad; or the Chickpea Walnut Burger, which comes with these amazing roasted curried potatoes on the side. And don't forget to check the specials board to see what their specials are - they have a daily soup which is vegan and amazing desserts as well, like their gluten-free Creme Brule. The kitchen is about eight square feet including work space, it's so tiny, I don't know how the people who work there do it sometimes - you see every one of the people working there moving really fast, especially on the weekend, and because the space is so small, they seem understaffed, but are usually just genuinely busy. If you don't like the services you receive at any restaurant, you probably shouldn't go back ten times, and spend money each time, just to end up making a redundant list of what you didn't like about it (*cough.KJD.cough*). The Cornerstone doesn't have pretentions - it's good food, good service in a casual and open atmosphere.

    Me? I would go back anytime.

    I LOVE THE CORNERSTONE!!!

  • Order: Pad Thai, Sweet Potato Quesadillas, Cornerstone Club
 
KJD
4 Reviews
2011/02/10
  • The straw has met the camel's back
  • Overall
    2.0 stars
    • Food
      2.0 stars
    • Services
      1.0 star
    • Atmosphere
      3.0 stars
    • Price Range (per person): $26-$60
    • Visit Again?: No
    • Party Size: 3
  • The review stating "Pad Thai was not even a close approximation of what it usually is" I would second and suggest that actually their vegetarian pad thai at least is just a cruddy stir fry.

    I have gone there several times in the past two years and I have always thought the service was poor, insanely slow, and occasionally but rarely an unfairly snippy server, but the food was usually half decent. The past several months though the food has been sliding and it came to a crash with our last visit.

    My girlfriend ordered the "vegetarian pad thai" what showed up was a stir fry with seasame seeds and a ginger sauce. It was brutal. My gf went up to return it as unsuitable. In Canada I'll concede that no two pad thais are the same, but I think most people will agree they always have a tamarind base.

    What my gf was confronted with was a server who chose to interrogate her on what her issue was with the food, "so it's NOT pad thai insofarrrrr assss?" (this was repeated more than once)

    each time she said "well gee the seasame seeds? the ginger sauce? the unusual choice of ingredients? [snow peas]"

    The response was just bizarre from her. I said screw it let's go. To take the high road (and being an idiot) I paid for both our barely touched meals. The girl was just brutal she was trying to convince me that this was a fair approximation of a pad thai, but you know "because it's a vegetarian pad thai it's going to be different, our chef says in thai land they marinate and soak stuff in pork bones"

    I chose not to laugh out loud but needless to say I didn't leave a tip.

    Maybe you're going to think this is unfair but let me give you a "fair approximation" of what my last ten meals at Cornerstone have been like.

    a - couple tables waiting to be bussed (5 minute wait)

    b - waitress (IF) comes by takes an order for drinks (10 to 15 minute wait is the average for every server to return with drinks except for one male who was working the patio right before their outside seating ended for the season in 2010. He was under 5 minutes. Let's bear in mind that the seating is probably when packed 40ish)

    c - food order if the waitress comes back is usually taken anywhere from another 5 to 10 minutes after the drinks are served but I have been FORGOTTEN once on the patio in these past ten visits I'm recounting and had to flag over another waitress

    d - food comes alternatively very fast or takes forever I won't even try to guess at an average time

    e - food has come alternatively as ordered or without specific items requested to be left out or added as a side

    f - food is painfully "okay" at best, I am not trying to tank them when I say this. The first time I went a few years ago the brunch was decent. Now it is absolutely the same or not as good as I could do at home and I am not a chef. I do however eat out a lot.

    Cornerstone in my opinion does well because it fits a niche for people who want a lot of vegetarian options and their sit down competiton in the area is terrible. They succeed in Guelph by being the best from a poor choice in the area they operate in.

    They are fast order food prepared by people with limited training. I don't buy the waitresses claim there is a "chef" if there is he's an owner and he's not there cooking most days. The menu sits as unchanged now as I first remember seeing it. There is no variety, there is no skill or pride of presentation or of service.

    If you want a decent hang out atmosphere and reasonably comparable food at slightly lesser price then I'd suggest you walk a couple blocks to the Woolwich Arrow

  • Order: have sampled every vegetarian item in the past two years
 
yumyum
4 Reviews
2010/08/11
  • Trendy hangout but the worst service ever...
  • Overall
    2.0 stars
    • Food
      1.0 star
    • Services
      1.0 star
    • Atmosphere
      3.0 stars
    • Price Range (per person): $11-$25
    • Visit Again?: No
    • Party Size: 2
  • Trendy hangout but the worst service ever. 45 minutes just to get a menu, 25 minutes to have our order taken, 55 minutes to get the food which was, quite frankly, tasteless, poorly presented and downright disgusting. Microwaved pierogi thing was stale and hard. Salad was decomposing into black slime, dressing zero flavour. The place wasn't particularly busy. Our order "got lost, sorry." We both got a stomach ache and vomited and had diarrhea shortly afterward. Pad Thai was not even a close approximation of what it usually is. Thank god the beer was cold. Avoid the mixed greens as they were not washed.

  • Order: pierogi, pad thai.
 
BREALs
19 Reviews
2010/05/30
  • very good, but pricey
  • Overall
    4.0 stars
    • Food
      4.0 stars
    • Services
      3.0 stars
    • Atmosphere
      4.0 stars
    • Price Range (per person): $11-$25
    • Visit Again?: Yes
    • Party Size: 2
  • My gf really wanted to try this place. Service was slow, but steady. Food was really good, but fairly pricey, but still worth it, I didn't feel ripped off. The atmosphere was cool. Would def. go back. Can't remember everything we had, but I do remember it was all good !

  • Order: sweet potato quesadilla, salad,
 
peanutbutterNjelly
1 Review
2010/01/09
  • Good food. New menus would be nice. They burnt...
  • Overall
    3.0 stars
    • Food
      4.0 stars
    • Services
      4.0 stars
    • Atmosphere
      2.0 stars
    • Price Range (per person): $11-$25
    • Visit Again?: Yes
    • Party Size: 2
  • Good food. New menus would be nice. They burnt our pizza, but were honest and told us. New one was delicious. They gave us free cake. We shoulda ordered beer. I hear it's cheap. Turn up the heat.

  • Order: antijitoes, sun-dried tomatoe/sweet potato pizza
 
Mackem
36 Reviews 1 Helpful
2009/10/25
  • I love this place. It sets the standard for...
  • Overall
    5.0 stars
    • Food
      5.0 stars
    • Services
      5.0 stars
    • Atmosphere
      5.0 stars
    • Price Range (per person): $11-$25
    • Visit Again?: Yes
    • Party Size: 2
  • I love this place. It sets the standard for vegetarian food. Always fresh food, served by attentive but not fussy staff. Great atmosphere. Highly recommend this place to anyone.

    One of my favourite places to eat in Guelph. A real gem.

  • Order: Pinto bean enchillada Chick pea and walnut burger.
 
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