We've been around for a while. The Craftsman has been in business since 1955.  Though back then it was called The Little Brown Jug (we’re not sure why exactly…but we’ve heard some interesting theories).

The Bancroft area was much different in the 1950’s – this beautifully rustic piece of the Canadian Shield was flooded with miners and their families.  In fact, many of the businesses and homes you see here today were built for those hardworking Canadian families.  So where did all those hungry miners chow down?  Where did they treat their sweethearts to a milkshake?  Where did they bring the kids on a Friday night?  To the Craftsman, of course - until the mining boom ended around 1964.

When the mines shut down, the area suffered some economic hardship, and like many businesses, the restaurant closed.  But time went by, and in the 1960’s a retired railway man (nicknamed Blackie) and his wife bought the diner and lovingly fixed it up.  They renamed it ‘The Craftsman,’ after Blackie himself – who had a love for leathercraft.  Blackie displayed and sold his work in the diner right up until he and his wife sold it in the 1970’s.

Even though Blackie sold the diner three decades ago, it has remained ‘The Craftsman’ ever since.  There have been a few different operators through the years, each adding a little of their own personalities to the diner.  Jim and Ramona have operated ‘The Craftsman’ since 1986, and have put their hearts and souls into it, evolving it to what it is today.

If you look around you’ll see the antiques that Jim has been collecting over the years, and outside you’ll see Ramona’s flowers growing in the gardens.  They and ‘The Craftsman Crew’ (some of whom have worked here since the 1980’s!), have been dedicated to providing guests like you with good quality, well-prepared and tasty food in a relaxed and friendly environment.  As we like to say, we make ‘real food, for real people.’

Over the years, many things have changed.  The mines reopened during the mid 1970’s and closed down again in the early 1980’s, families came and went, cottages were built on the shores of Paudash and other lakes, and snowmobiles gradually outnumbered dogsleds…but some things have remained the same…like the hard-working spirit of the people who call this place home, and the calm natural beauty of the lakes and forest that surround us, and the call of the loon…and even the spirit of this little diner.

Gradually more and more old tools and antiques have made their way to the walls (collected and donated from a host of Craftsmen and Craftswomen), a new coat of paint has been applied here and there, things have broken down and been fixed or replaced, and some new items have made it onto the menu – but the spirit of this place has remained unchanged.  So come on in, sit back, relax, enjoy yourself, your friends, and of course your meal, and enjoy our little piece of history. 

We welcome you!

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