Restaurant Owners Trade Sandwiches for a Painting which Ends Up Being Worth over $250K

Is there something expensive that you would trade for your all-time favorite meal?

Back in the 70s, one family-owned restaurant based in Ontario, Canada used their homemade meal to trade with other makers from their community and gathered (unknowingly) valuable artwork in the process.

Once, they exchanged warm grilled cheese sandwiches with a rare painting by Maud Lewis, a Canadian folk artist, that’s estimated to be worth more than $250K. 

Tony and Irene Demas got this painting through one painter from England, John Kinnear, who was in Ontario with his wife Audrey. 

The Trade of a Lifetime?-Grilled Cheese for a Rare Painting 

Kinnear had a thing for grilled cheese sandwiches, especially for the artisan ones like the Demases made. 

This grilled cheese sandwich included a five-year-old cheddar and freshly-made bread. Rather than paying in cash for this meal, he offered the Demases a work of art of their choice. 

This is when Kinnear presented them with an unusual painting collection.

According to Irene, she sat there in silence for some time because she had never seen any art like that before. 

She thought that Kinnear may be playing some trick on her and it looked like those paintings were done by some kid. Lewis is known for her unique, childlike style of painting. 

Kinnear explained to the Demases that the paintings are made by Maud Lewis. 

Since she was poor, she didn’t have adequate supplies and made art with whatever she could find. She would use pieces of wood and leftover paint from fishermen.

Despite the humble background and unusual use of materials, created vibrant portrayals of life in Nova Scotia and celebrated the area’s natural beauty. 

When the Demases were presented with Lewis’s art,  the Black Truck caught Irene’s attention the most. It portrays a black vehicle driving on a road with flowers and trees on the border. 

The Demases Sold the Painting & Will Use the Money to Travel & Enjoy Life

Irene was pregnant at the time so she used the painting as decor for her son’s room. It stayed there for years until the Demases put the painting for sale in 2022.

Irene said that her husband is 90 and she won’t probably have another 50 years to keep it. Their children told them to use the money, travel, and enjoy their life.

The family sold the painting in May 2022 for $273,432.