Word comes from CEO Keith Harris that KiKi Maple Sweet Water is now available from coast to coast across Canada. The small Arthur-based company has grown steadily over the past several years. Looking back on the past year, Harris says that KiKi products have been showcased nationally at grocery and food events but also in France, the United Arab Emirates and India, to name a few. He stresses that the maple water, in addition to being delicious, is an environmentally conscious “green product” and proudly Canadian. “All of our ingredients are natural,” Harris says. “And we have no synthetic additions to our beverages. All ingredients simply are very easy to say.” That’s a good way to start off this Buzz — and the new year, one which has been touted as a year of healthier eating.
The Nook Coffeehouse and Marketplace on Snyder’s Road in Baden opened in December. The venue, as well as serving soups, sandwiches and pastries also caters corporate lunches and foods for special events. There are also products for sale made by local artisans.
I guess you could say it is 16,000 square feet of “healthy.” Goodness Me! Natural Food Market opened on Hespeler Road at Sheldon Drive at the end of November. There are several other locations in the city, a testament to the movement to clean and healthy eating. The store features a bounty of organic produce and some local produce as well. It touts itself as offering small batch-produced grass-fed beef and naturally raised chicken and pork. It’s also a good spot for consumers looking for various niche diet ingredients from vegan and plant-based to keto and gluten-free.
Congratulations to Langdon Hall Country House Hotel and Spa and executive chef Jason Bangerter: 2018 was quite the year for the luxe but casual Relais et Chateaux country house tucked in amongst the woods in Cambridge. Bangerter claimed victory over iconic celebrity chef Lynn Crawford in “Battle Venison” on the Food Network television show Iron Chef this past fall. I guess I should say Bangerter “reigned supreme,” to use the quirky Chairman’s parlance.
Langdon Hall was also informed that it would be included on La Liste 2019 as one of the best restaurants in the world. Selection to the list is based on the aggregation of dozens and dozens of guidebooks and millions of online reviews which are drawn upon by food critics and hospitality experts for evaluation. We can also add that Langdon was included in the top 50 Best Hotels in Canada by Hotel Addict. Experienced editors and travel writers associated with the online magazine visited and selected their favourite hotels across the country, and, based on service, amenities and design, created a shortlist of 50 top properties.
With the departure of Brad Lomanto to Bloom Restaurant at Conestoga College this past fall, the Cambridge Mill welcomed Windsor, Ontario native Joel LaBute as Executive Chef. LaBute has cooked at Langdon Hall and alongside Stephen Treadwell and Keith Froggett. That is certainly a strong culinary provenance, and one he will use to carry on the culinary tradition at the Mill: fresh, local ingredients and ethical sourcing that has been in place since the Mill opened. LaBute will certainly add to that dedication — he and his wife run their own farm, so he undoubtedly knows food from farm to table. “I knew I wanted to be doing something with my hands where I could be creative, where I could feel proud at the end of the day,” LaBute explains in a posting on the Pearle Hospitality website.
Saffron Indian Restaurant & Bar is an authentic Indian restaurant. Chef Kul brings the fine traditional cuisines of India to Cambridge. Saffron’s outgrowth, Dakshin, will be the area’s first dedicated South Indian restaurant and is anticipated to open soon just across the road. 605 Hespeler Rd, Cambridge, 519-267-8188, saffroncambridge.ca
Part of Pearle Hospitality, the Elora Mill Hotel and Spa, a classic and historic site, has been transformed and re-opened this past summer. Built by Scottish craftsmen between 1851 and 1859, the original mill burnt to the ground in 1859, but changed hands and was promptly re-built. It opened as an inn in 1975, and was purchased by Pearle in 2010. The kitchen, led by Chef John Bakker, changes its menu with the seasons and for inspiration and ingredients draws on the bounty of local agriculture and artisanal production.
Sugo on Surrey has opened in downtown Guelph. According to owner and operator Alex Tami, it’s a full-service, Italian-inspired and upscale-casual venue in a 150-year-old heritage home on Surrey Street East. Executive chef Brian Baxendale is in charge of the kitchen and the menu consists of shareable plates, a half-dozen or so hearty main courses, salads, pizzas and pasta dishes. “We strive to get the freshest local ingredients to prepare all of our dishes as well as work with local businesses to support economic growth within Guelph,” Tami says. Alex and Maria Tami’s Sugo on Surrey is a casual-fine dining restaurant with an Italian influence in a 150-year-old heritage home. 117 Surrey Street East, Guelph, sugoguelph.com
A combined Abe Erb Brewing and Settlement Coffee Roaster will be expanding to Guelph this fall and will be known as Abe Erb at the Junction. It will occupy a former railroad building on Edinburgh Road in the Guelph Junction neighbourhood.
Executive chef Joey Bornino’s Elizabeth Street Eatery is known for its farm-to-table approach. Chef works with small producers, with the ingredients inspiring the menu which changes weekly. 447 Elizabeth Street, 519- 265-0950, elizabethstreeteatery.com
Decadently Yours, home of award-winning cakes and cupcakes, is celebrating its 5th anniversary. Congratulations to sisters Jenn Bonner and Tara Ridell. 119 Surrey St East, 519-262-5314, decadentlyyours.ca
Artisanale Café is located in a heritage stone house where everything is made fresh, prepared in a French country style, using traditional and artisanal techniques. If you’ve never been before, the $35 Prix-Fixe menu on Wednesday and Thursday evenings is the perfect introduction. Lunch or dinner (Wednesday–Saturday), and Sunday brunch. 214 Woolwich Street, 519-821-3359, artisanale.ca
Park Grocery is Guelph’s latest restaurant by the Neighbourhood Group consisting of Borealis in Kitchener and Guelph and The Wooly Pub and Miijidaa Café & Bistro. The recently opened hot spot which is part bar, deli and grocery shop offers roasted piri piri chicken, sandwiches, salads and soups all made from scratch. The bar offers a selection of local beers and wine and is home to a barista-driven cafe featuring organic fair-trade coffee and tea alongside artisan sodas and milkshakes. With an eye to a sustainable future, Park Grocery supports a living wage and donates 5% of sales from the Neighbourhood Club members’ sales to local community and environmental initiatives. 294 Woolwich Street, 519-265-9002, parkgrocery.ca
The recently opened Fusion Authentic Indian Cuisine is co-owned by Jobi Joseph and Joseph Stephen. Chefs create “savoury dishes that are inspired and modern, yet comforting and familiar,” says the website. “Enjoy traditional dishes from North India or treat your appetite to delicacies from the backwaters of Kerala.” 96 Gordon Street, Guelph, 519-265-0999, fusionindian.com
Founder of Taste Detours, Lynn Broughton is a certified Food Tour Professional. Not only do you have a guide who is charming, knowledgeable and well-spoken, but one who has the expertise and the savvy to provide a first-rate experience. Broughton recently introduced the Little Bites Food Tour. Join Taste Detours on this shorter appetizer tour. You’ll visit four local food purveyors to feast on their tastiest morsels. tastedetours.ca
Crafty Ramen owners Jared and Miki Farrell make their own noodles in-house daily from Canadian wheat with a ramen noodle machine imported from Japan. The kitchen is dedicated to superb ingredients like earthy, pork-duck broth made with locally sourced meat and bones supplied by Trotters Butcher Shop. Jared and Miki are bringing their delicious ramen to Kitchener at King near Water Street soon. 17 Macdonell St, Guelph, 519 824-8330, craftyramen.com
Bryan Steele and his Guelph-based co-owner partners Conrad Aikens, Justin Corstorphine and Derek Boudreau, all of whom have experience in food, added another dimension to Guelph’s exploding culinary scene when they opened the 88-seat La Reina last June. La Reina is an authentic Mexican restaurant experience start to finish. On top of tacos, which rival some of the best we’ve ever tasted, they offer 60+ different tequilas. Head chef Jose Matamoros brought with him chefs of Mexican background representing different regions of the country. You can “Tip the Kitchen” with Sol or Modelo beer. 10 Wyndham Street North, Guelph, 519-265-8226, lareina519.com
Still yet unannounced formally, there’s a new chef and other well-known personalities at the popular Grand Trunk Saloon (GTS) in downtown Kitchener. And look for other new developments at the restaurant, according to ownership. Darryl Haus, a principal at GTS, says (while keeping his cards close to his vest), “Stay tuned in the early new year!” We will.
Along Charles Street near Queen in downtown Kitchener, a confusing situation has cropped up regarding a “Royal” Shawarma that was in the process of getting ready to open. The sign now says “Loyal” Shawarma. Was the original name too close to that of Waterloo’s small chain Shawarma Royale on King Street near University Avenue, or some other legal or title snafu?
Ambrosia Pastry Co., a Waterloo favourite, has re-branded as Ambrosia Corner Bakery and moved to the Central Frederick neighbourhood of Kitchener. Owner Aura Hertzog took over the space — once known by locals as Fischer’s Variety — that was previously occupied by Public Market. The new Ambrosia sells pastries and baked goods that are made in-house and many well-known local products, such as tortilla chips from Taco Farm and breads from Golden Hearth Bakery.
Sadly, the so-called “Duke Food Block” in downtown Kitchener has been diminished with the closing of Bread Heads Wood-fired Pizza. Owner David O’Leary has chosen not to re-new his lease after several years of helping lead the pack in wood-fired pizza in Waterloo Region. LRT construction has had an impact on many of the businesses in the core, and it changed customer traffic flow and habits of patrons. O’Leary had difficulty taking deliveries due to ION transit tracks that run in front of the block. That said, look for a strong Bread Heads presence to continue in Waterloo Region and surrounding areas. O’Leary plans to boost his mobile wood-fired pizza business by adding another unit in order to cover more of the many festivals and events he participates in across southwestern Ontario.
The owners of a popular food truck, Breakfast, Blues and BBQs, have opened a small restaurant at 105 Victoria Street South between Michael and Joseph Streets. It’s the former location of the long-standing Sing Lee Chinese Restaurant, which had struggled under new owners of late. The BBQ folks, however, have gotten off to a fast start, and they will soon have lots of new residents living right across the street when a multi-storey condominium is completed. The restaurant serves the expected dishes of sandwiches, chili and southern barbecue fare, burgers, fish and chips and poutines, as well as all-day breakfast. You may also find banana bread French toast and claims for “all things chorizo!” Just a heads-up: during the week, it opens at 11 a.m., so the all-day breakfast is a good strategy on the restaurant’s part.
A note posted on their door says that Taste at the Tannery (121 Charles Street West, Kitchener) “will be ceasing its daily operations indefinitely while we redesign and rebrand.” Interpret that any way you like.
A recent notice in the newspaper indicates that bankruptcy proceeding are in progress regarding Fireside Deli and Family Restaurant on Ottawa Street South near Strasburg Road. There’s likely management and ownership changes coming.
Conestoga College culinary graduate Alex Krawczyk runs the kitchen at downtown Kitchener’s recently opened and popular 30-seat The Grand Surf Lounge. The Lounge features exotic cocktails and a Polynesian-inspired Tiki bar themed menu, including poké, Flaming Crab Rangoon, the Pupu Platter (for two, comprised of short ribs, musubi and tartare), fresh fruit and root chips. 87 Ontario Street South, grandsurflounge.com
Last year The Ignite Restaurant Group transformed the former Berlin into The Rich Uncle Tavern. When the building was remodelled as The Berlin, Ryan Lloyd-Craig spent eight months refurbishing and reclaiming the Renaissance Revival style of the building to create an 85-seat, street-level dining room with a long bar. The elevated open-kitchen is one of the focal points of the space. Chef Benjamin Lillico has an ethical and sustainable culinary philosophy, caring about the provenance of food and the way it is grown or raised. The restaurant has just launched a series of prohibition-themed dinners featuring beer pairings with guest brewers. 45 King Street West, 519-208-8555, richuncletavern.ca
Located in the historical Tannery building Downtown Kitchener, Taste at the Tannery is closed for rebranding and remodelling. 121 Charles St W, Kitchener, tastetannery.ca
Located below The Walper Hotel, The TWH Social has been a staple in the downtown Kitchener culinary scene since January 2015. Over the fall, talented co-chefs Grant Holdbrook and Carlo Atienza have crafted exciting new brunch, lunch, and dinner menus. The Lokal is the striking piano bar and lounge on the second floor. Breakfast is served in the Barristers Lounge. 20 Queen Street South, Kitchener, walper.com
Best-selling cookbook author Donna-Marie Pye and fellow culinary enthusiast Maria Burjoski opened a stylish new iteration of Relish Cooking Studio and Kitchen Essentials a few months ago. 70 Victoria Street North, 519-954-8722, relishcookingstudio.com
La Cucina features more than just mouth-watering pizzas from the custom-built Malagutti pizza oven. Other items include antipasti, homemade pastas, paninis and house specialties like Veal Parmigiana and Porchetta E Rapini. 320 King Street West, 519-954-5300, lacucinakitchener.com
Gilt is a contemporary shared plate restaurant in a re-purposed space in the heart of the technology triangle. The bar, lounge and 65-seat restaurant is urbane, open, airy and sophisticated with lofty ceilings and a stylish and comfortable industrial ambiance. Chef de cuisine Alex Janke has been at Gilt since the beginning and has innate instincts when it comes to flavours, marrying global ingredients and enriching dishes by taking them to new dimensions. Janke’s repertoire includes influences from Thai, Indian, French and Mexican inspired cuisine. 305 King Street West, 519-954-6100, giltrestaurant.ca
Jill and Mica Sadler recently celebrated Swine and Vine’s first anniversary. This is the perfect spot to share well-crafted cocktails, good wine and local beers, and build-your-own charcuterie boards. Other inspired fare like Bone Marrow, Beef Carpaccio, Octopus Salad and Jackfruit Spring Rolls are on offer. We love the tableside carving of the three-year-old dry-cured Jamón Ibérico served with warm olives. The pièce de résistance is a dessert board called Cookies n’ Milk for Grownups, featuring Triple Nut Biscotti with Frangelico and Chambord, Spiced Hot Chocolate Cookies with Rum Chata and Peppermint Schnapps and Milk Chocolate Orange Truffles with Grand Marnier and Kahlua. The Sadler’s also offer a fabulous Saturday brunch. Service is attentive and knowledgeable. 295 Lancaster Street West, 226-476-4418, swineandvine.ca
Ryan Murphy and Carly Blasutt’s Public Kitchen & Bar is a stylish independently-owned restaurant in one of Kitchener’s oldest neighborhoods. They take pride in creating delicious small, shareable plates inspired by the Iberian Peninsula. Cheese is a specialty; try the tasting featuring Iborez (Spain), Chateau de Bourgogne (France) and Bénédictin Blue (Quebec). They also offer well-crafted cocktails, new and old world wines and an all-Ontario craft beer list at reasonable prices. Menu changes sometimes on a daily basis. 300 Victoria Street N., 519-954-8111, kwpublic.com
Crumb Bakehouse is operated by Martha Borys, a master baker in her own right when it comes to breads, cakes and pastries. Borys is a graduate of George Brown College and the University of Waterloo, and has played a key role at prestigious businesses in the hospitality industry such as the Berlin and Langdon Hall. Borys has gained a solid reputation in KW since joining the Lancaster Smokehouse team for her unbelievably delicious homemade pies and baked good. Crumb Bakehouse currently resides within The Lancaster Smokehouse, but there are plans to expand into its own retail and kitchen space. 574 Lancaster Street W., 519-743-4331, lancsmokehouse.com/crumb-bakehouse
Chris & Cathy Corrigan’s Lancaster Smokehouse is a full-service casual restaurant inspired by the U.S. south and low country southern barbecue, made from scratch in-house with the best local ingredients, and using traditional southern methods. Tim Borys’ “inventive authenticity-laden” approach incorporates all things local. He works with area farmers and food purveyors to keep “The Lanc” fresh and local. Think lip-smacking pulled pork, chicken, BBQ ribs, shrimp and grits, brisket, pig’s tails, gumbo and Cajun jambalaya. 574 Lancaster Street West, 519-743-4331, lancastersmokehouse.com
Major renovations and re-conceptualization are underway at 12-year-old Wildcraft, one of the flagship restaurants of the Charcoal Group. You’ll find a bright new look at the restaurant and bar in early 2019. According to Jody Palubiski, Charcoal Group of Restaurants managing partner, both exterior and interior renovations will be undertaken. With menus and even staff uniforms to be revamped, it is a major changeover that includes a new cocktail, beer and wine program. “For more than a decade, Wildcraft has been fortunate to serve the community of Waterloo,” says Palubiski. “We’re so excited for our guests to experience this new chapter with us. The new year is a time for renewal and positivity which is exactly what we’re bringing to Wildcraft with the redevelopment of the restaurant.” wildcraft.ca
We reported in our last issue that change was afoot with the growing Fat Sparrow Group: what has materialized is significant. The Group — comprised of Uptown 21, Taco Farm, The Harmony Lunch and Marbles — has acquired the holdings of the long-time Stone Crock Inc. in St. Jacobs, founded by entrepreneur Milo Shantz and his wife Laura in 1975. That means Nick and Nat Benninger and the Fat Sparrow Group will be gently refurbishing and adding their own distinctive touch to Jacob’s Grill, Stone Crock Meats and Cheese, Stone Crock Bakery, Stone Crock Restaurant, St. Jacobs Catering, Salad Division and Meeting and Banquet Rooms. “We have enjoyed great success in Uptown Waterloo with our current portfolio of restaurants,” says Chef Nick Benninger. “We’re really excited to be part of St. Jacobs now as it continues to grow and prosper.” Sandra Shantz, who has been overseeing the business since the 1990s, says she will be staying on with the Fat Sparrow Group. 1396 King St N, St. Jacobs, 519-664-2286, stonecrock.ca
T&T Supermarket, a B.C.-based Asian grocery chain that is 25 years old and now comes under the Loblaw purview, opened to pandemonium in early December. Located in Westmount Mall, the massive superstore is over 30,000 sq.-ft. (interestingly making it the smallest of the T&T brand) and has an immense selection of food products, a bakery, hot tables, and fish in tanks (sure to raise the ire of some), a feature of which is cook-while-you-wait.
OneZo Tapioca has opened at 140 University Avenue near Lester Street in the University of Waterloo area. It seems a new restaurant opens in the district every few weeks. Look for a new Chinese place to open in the former Chill and Grill location in the University Plaza that runs along Phillip Street.
We reported earlier that Chic Pea Middle Eastern Kitchen was set to open on University Avenue near Weber Street, Waterloo, and across from the new Conestoga College campus, and so it has, in the former Pizza Hut building. Owner Nedal Alhares, one of the original founders and owners of Arabesque Family Restaurant on Victoria Street in Kitchener, has opened the 110-seat restaurant and open-kitchen concept with the intention of serving delicious food that’s healthy. He’s brought in unique charcoal rotisserie equipment for roasting chicken and serves items such as Turkish pizza, shawarma, kabobs, sandwiches, salads and a variety of Middle Eastern sweets. The restaurant is 100 percent halal and has many vegetarian options.
The Loloan Lobby Bar menus are upscale, sensory experiences, meticulously conceptualized with sumptuously textured offerings that are tangy, spicy, aromatic and herbal. Loloan’s partners are seasoned restaurateurs and include General Manager Paul Boehmer of Bhima’s Warung, Renee Lees and Josh Koehler, of the Starlight Club and Jane Bond. Bhima’s manager Leanne Amort is a secondary partner. There are timeless cocktails and gastronomic forays through the regional and cross-cultural cuisines of Southeast Asia, with homage being paid to Indonesia, India, Vietnam, Singapore and Thailand. The cuisine packs heat and complex flavours in equal parts. 14 Princess Street West, 519-883-1010, loloanlobbybar
White Rabbit is an intimate cocktail bar that can boast having one of the largest whisky lists, and stocking over 400 brands, many of them difficult to find. They make stellar handcrafted cocktails and have whisky and bourbon flight tasting paddles. 47 King St North, 519- 746-7540, whiterabbitwaterlloo.com
Proof Kitchen & Lounge, located in the Delta Hotel in UpTown Waterloo on the site of the historic Seagram Barrel Yards, offers a first class, contemporary, chef-driven dining experience presented in a stylish dining room. Chef Jeritt Raney’s menus feature local ingredients with an emphasis on a fusion of global flavours. All seafood has the assurance of the Ocean Wise symbol. Menus are complemented by expertly crafted cocktails, a well-chosen wine list, and a diverse selection of local craft beers. 110 Erb Street West, Waterloo, 519 208 3333, proofwaterloo.com
Red House in UpTown Waterloo has been converted into an intimate, relaxed bistro restaurant that has garnered great word of mouth from industry professionals. Chef/owner Dan Mc Cowan’s menus feature fresh food inspired by quality ingredients. The menu changes daily to incorporate new and seasonal ingredients and flavours. Entrées include beef, duck, curries, pastas and vegetarian dishes. Open for lunch and dinner Tuesday to Friday, and brunch and dinner Saturday. 30 William St W, Waterloo, redhouseuptown.ca
Waterloo Brewing is celebrating a 35th anniversary. When the first small batch was brewed in 1984 the simple goal was to make the kind of beer the owners would be proud to serve their friends, the kind of beer they’d choose for themselves. Back then, they were the only brew masters in Ontario to think that way. Turns out they were onto something. waterloobrewing.com
Around the Region
Who doesn’t like to eat and drink? The folks from EatDrink Magazine will be at the 2019 KW Wine & Food Show on April 5 and 6. This event allows visitors to indulge in craft beers, cocktails, wines and food from Ontario breweries, cideries, distilleries and local restaurants. Enjoy live cooking demonstrations, wine pairings and musical entertainment. Admission at the door will be $20 (tax included) for Friday and Saturday evening sessions. The Saturday afternoon session will be $15 (tax included). Walk-up tickets will be sold based on capacity with preference given to advance ticket holders. kwwineandfoodshow.com
The Ignite Restaurant Group (owners of The Rich Uncle Tavern, and Graffiti Market, Red Circle Coffee and Red Circle Brewing) have purchased the former Black Forest Inn in Conestogo. The Sawmill Road property is one of the oldest venues in the region. The group plans to launch Crowsfoot Ciderhouse and will offer its own brand of cider, brewed in-house, using apples from Martin’s Family Fruit Farm on Lobsinger Line. The menu will be modelled on the traditional European smokehouse with a contemporary twist, combining German food culture and southern smoke barbecue. The complex is expected to feature a country market as well as serving as the new headquarters for Ignite. crowsfootcider.ca
At The Belmont Bistro (formerly Village Creperie) Chef Brandon Gries, a Stratford Chef School alumnus, creates flavourful dishes from scratch, taking no short-cuts and changing the menu seasonally. 703 Belmont Ave W, 519-576- 5796
Abe Erb Brewing and Settlement Coffee Roaster will soon be opening the doors to their new location in Ayr at 143 Northumberland. The brewery and brew pub will be known as Abe Erb at the Mill, a reference to the property’s storied history as a feed mill. There are also plans to grow into an event space with a 700-square-foot covered patio porch.
We continue to hear raves about the traditional Danish comfort food (smørrebrød/open-face sandwiches) at The Danish Place at Sunset Villa, located in Puslinch, which reopens at the beginning of March, 2019. Join them on Sundays for the 24ft Smørgåsbrod! Open Thursday to Sunday. 7150 Concession 1, Puslinch, 519-824-0539
Eat Up Your February — From February 1–17, discover some of the best winter eats and local food options in Guelph and Wellington County with Eat up your February! www.tastereal.ca
Wellington Brewery presents Queen of Craft Series taking place each Friday evening in March, the series will include 5 sessions of beer education events for women. queenofcraft2019.eventbrite.ca
It may be the end of another Stratford Festival season, which brought diners in droves to the city for prix fixe menus, but the city’s restaurant community continues to be open for business, and not just for the locals. Stratford has been known for decades for setting the benchmark when it comes to dining, but until just a few years ago it wasn’t feasible for many of the restaurants to operate year-round. That has all been changing and many great restaurants are open year-round.
Drop by the Stratford Tourism Alliance for a slate of self-guided culinary tours. If you’re a choco-holic, the Savour Stratford Chocolate Trail is the way to go. Spend an afternoon strolling the Victorian streets of Stratford and sampling chocolate in a wide variety of manifestations. The self-guided Chocolate Trail is offered year-round and includes a gift at your choice of six of the 27 stops. Tickets are just $30 (+HST) and valid for 1 week from the date of purchase. No sweet tooth? There is also a self-guided Bacon & Ale Trail! visitstratford.ca/chocolatetrail
Stratford’s newest micro-brewery is Herald Haus Brewing Co., situated in the historic Herald building, former headquarters of the Stratford Herald newspaper. The premises have undergone extensive refurbishment. It is owned and operated by Daniel J. Graver and a team which includes head brewer Jeff Macdonald and assistant brewer John Zippel. Drop by the taproom for expertly poured pints, cans for purchase and an exclusive menu prepared by the Hub kitchen team next door. Open Tuesday to Sunday 11am to 9pm. 21 Market Place, 519- 508-1890, heraldhaus.com
“A locally sourced restaurant, run by workers, owned by workers, shared by the community,” sums up The Red Rabbit’s ethos. Executive chef Sean Collins terms the cooking as “Flavour First, Ingredient Driven.” Chef’s mantra, “We cook food we like to eat.” We recently had a stack of luscious Buttermilk Pancakes topped with warm maple syrup and a generous slab of foie gras, followed by Vietnamese Caramel Fried Chicken and t savoury and nutty tasting Sunchoke Puree. 64 Wellington Street, 519-305-6464, redrabbitresto.com
Jessie Votary and the folks at Stratford’s The Red Rabbit and Okazu 85 Downie love building new, worker-owned restaurants. The new Old Man & Son allows them another opportunity to offer fair wages and year round employment — and of course to serve the luscious, super fluffy pancakes, smoked bacon and sausage, avocado toast and other delicious food to early risers. At lunch there is a great selection of burgers and sandwiches with their own idiosyncratic twist. Open for breakfast and lunch, 7am–2pm. Closed Mondays and Tuesdays. 75 Wellington Street, 519-305-7575, oldmanandson.com
Want to learn the trade secrets of making gnocchi or sourdough bread from the experts, or how to prepare a feast of Indian curry, or improve your knife skills? Stratford Chefs School Open Kitchen features a wide variety of hands-on cooking classes and learning opportunities for all home cooks and food lovers this winter. stratfordchef.com/open-kitchen
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