The Buzz: May/June 2017

Written by The Editors

Opening Day for Covent Garden Market Outdoor Farmers’ Market is Saturday May 6. The outdoor market is held every Thursday (8–2) and Saturday (8–1). The market has partnered with the expert cooks at Jill’s Table for a weekly cooking class featuring market ingredients (Thursdays, 11:45–1:15). Get great suggestions, try the food, pick up a recipe.

The Squire Pub and Grill is an American-style pub and grill operated by General Manager Chris Cleary and Chef Joel Silva. The dining room has a casual atmosphere, with daily drink and dining specials. Located at the corner of Dundas and Talbot, it’s perfect for before and after events at Budweiser Gardens. Open for lunch, dinner and late nights daily.

The Early Bird recently expanded into the area formerly occupied by Rock au Taco and owners Justin and Gregg Wolfe will open a Mexican restaurant called Los Lobos in the former Talbot St. Whisky House space early this summer. The menu will share their love for tacos and take on classics and Mexican entrées, with the focus at the bar being on tequila, mezcal and bourbon.

Jess Jazey-Spoelstra and Chef Andrew Wolwowicz’s new venture, Craft Farmacy, is opening in May, at 449 Wharncliffe Road South. It will feature local craft beer, an oyster bar, rustic-style food, lots of sharing plates and great wines and fabulous house cocktails.

Windermere Manor’s Restaurant Ninety One is celebrating its first anniversary. The menu pays homage to Modern Canadian cuisine. Chef Angela Murphy tells us that the Saturday Afternoon Teas have been popular. Murphy will release a new spring edition on May 6 and launch a new spring Sunday Brunch menu at the same time.

Karri Egan returned last month from 20 years in Alberta with a fresh idea — to bring Thai-inspired ice cream trend to Downtown London. Roli Poli – Hand Rolled Ice Cream will open in May, at 484 Richmond St. Not only will it offer premium ice cream, but also vegan-friendly, non-fat yogurt and coconut milk ice cream. The Roli Poli Food Truck will also be serving hand-rolled ice cream and artisan shaved ice. You’ll see it on the streets of London, in the parks and at festivals this summer.

Chef Alana Coughlin’s Haven’s Creamery is coming to 226 Piccadilly St. at Richmond. Look for from- scratch, batch-by-batch, high-integrity ice cream made with simple, local ingredients and fresh cream and milk from Hagerville’s Hewitt’s Dairy.

The former home of the Mongolian Grill on Richmond Row has been sold to the Warehouse Group of Vancouver, which plans a popular bar-restaurant concept that bills itself as a “premium dive” serving inexpensive meals.

Wellington Market is opening in the space formerly occupied by the Organic Works Bakery and Revive Kitchen, bringing wholesome food to the SOHO community. Vegetarian, vegan, omnivore and gluten-free, dine-in or “grab-and-go”… everyone will find a favourite here.

Visit the Organic Works Bakery new pop-up shop at Eldon House, offering a selection of breads, bars, cookies and treats.

Eldon House Summer Tea Program features tea, scones and jams with fruit and cream served on the beautiful lawns of the property, overlooking the Thames River. June 28–August 28, Tuesday through Sunday, 2–4pm. Cost includes a self-guided tour of Eldon House. Reservations recommended.

The Tea Lounge is launching Afternoon Tea Service on one Sunday per month. The first will be on Mother’s Day (two seatings available: 12pm & 2:15pm). Book a sitting at the recently launched monthly Tea Flight Nights to experience a comparative tasting. A cheese pairing tops off the experience.

Plant Matter Kitchen is an all-encompassing eatery offering chilled organic brews, daily specials and a smoothie and juice bar in Wortley Village. Look for a new expanded outdoor patio this summer. A second exciting iteration of PMK is expected to open downtown in the former Braywick Bistro premises in mid-summer.

Idlewyld Inn& Spa is featuring a Mother’s Day brunch and a dinner buffet. Reserve for one of two seatings: 11am & 2pm for brunch, and 5pm & 7:30pm for dinner. The Courtyard opens in June. Savour a fantastic BBQ buffet dinner every Wednesday and Thursday. Enjoy Idlewyld’s Saturday Afternoon Tea on May 20 & June 24, 2–4pm.

Rebel Remedy Health Bar recently opened to rave reviews at 242 Dundas St. The downtown take-away features plant-based breakfast and lunch options, “bulletproof”coffee made with Pilot Coffee, cold-press juices, salads, and a kombucha brewery that is in full swing.

Globally Local has announced the launch of the “World’s First” 24-hour Vegan Drive-Thru — located at a former Harvey’s at Highbury & Cheapside. “The revolution starts June 2017.” If you haven’t tried their food yet, you can visit them in downtown London at 252 Dundas St. Open daily 8am–10pm.

Fresno’s: The Italian Table will open in the space previously occupied by Union Burger on Richmond Row. Kirk Anastasiadis, a partner in Burger Burger and The Barking Frog, anticipates a mid-May opening. Fresno’s will offer a signature hand-cut veal sandwich, fresh pastas, gelato etc.

Aroma of India has opened in the space previously occupied by Amici Ristorante at 350 Dundas St. The best of traditional Indian cookery will be complemented with new Indian dishes to add innovation for those who love fine dining. The menu offers vegetarian, lamb, chicken, and seafood dishes at different levels of spicing. Open for lunch and dinner daily.

Zen’Za, formerly Rico’s Pizzeria Downtown, is known for vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free thin-crust pizzas. The organic farmer’s sausage pizza and a prosciutto-filled Hawaiian “Magnum Pi” are designed for carnivores. 71 King St.

If you love cold beer and sizzling grilled foods, the London Beer & BBQ Show presented by White Oaks Mall is the place to be June 16–18. Quench your thirsts with Canada’s top breweries and Ontario’s craft breweries and a selection of wines, coolers, ciders and spirits all served ice cold and perfectly sized for finding your signature drink of the summer. You’ll find outstanding barbecue too, prepared by local grill masters. The fun continues with backyard games, live bands, bubble soccer, beer tours, cooking demonstrations, cook-offs, taste-offs and more!

Masonville Farmers’ Market will open on May 19 and run until the second week in October. The Market will be located behind London Audio at Masonville Mall this year, across from the bus depot.


The new Market Square, opening July 1, welcomes people into a pedestrian-friendly space with trees, places to sit and relax with a good book, meet friends, enjoy lunch from a nearby eatery or while away the day. Just a short walk through Queen’s Park to Confederation Park brings you to a new butterfly-shaped pollinator garden that offers a welcoming home for bees.

Marc Chartrand joins corporate executive chef Ryan O’Donnell as chef de cuisine at Mercer Kitchen and will be handling the reins of the kitchen. A new menu continues the playful, quality-driven approach to a hybrid Japanese izakaya/locavore Perth County pub menu that was so well received last year. Alex Kastner has left Mercer Hall. Myron Hussey is the new Restaurant Manager and Shazelle Beach the new Hotel Manager. Mercer presents a Father’s Day Picnic at the Stratford Perth Museum on June 18 with outdoor stalls, food and live music in a beautiful treed setting on the museum grounds.

The Prune, a long-time Stratford favourite, is launching a new concept featuring a lounge and custom-built bar. Bar One Fifty One has a relaxed and elegant vibe, the perfect backdrop for signature cocktails and a varied wine list and tailored bar menu. Open for lunch, dinner and late night. Bryan Steele remains Executive Chef at The Prune. Inspired in part by the bounty of local producers and growers, with touches of world cuisines alongside the classics, the result is an experience that is uplifting and memorable.

Summer season at The Red Rabbit means the return of the pre-theatre menu (fixed price) and to being open 7 days a week. Reade Haslam is the new restaurant manager, while Jessie Votary is across the square starting up Okazu, a new cocktail bar in the former Canadian Grub to Go premises. Okazu, a Japanese word meaning “side dish,” will be Stratford’s new late-night hot spot for grown-ups who want a little of everything, followed by a kimchi Caesar, a glass of sake, or a lemongrass martini. Not just a Japanese snack bar, food from around the globe will be featured, clarified through a Japanese palate. Chef Justin Dafoe’s menu will feature dumplings, noodle bowls, and not-so-noodle bowls. Open 6pm-2am, Thursday-Sunday.

This season, The Mill Stone features a small seasonally-inspired all-day menu with small plates, bolstered by a rotating selection of feature dishes that focus on lighter and healthier fare. This high-energy bistro is looking to create a niche as the cocktail bar in town. Look for cocktails on tap and in bottles, homemade bitters, and fluidity between the kitchen and the bar with globally-inspired flavours and locally-sourced ingredients. Locally-brewed beer on tap and a varied bottle list, with a focus on Canadian wines and a refined international selection.

Chef Arron Carley of The Bruce recently staged at Swedish chef Fredrik Berselius’ two-Michelin-starred restaurant Aska in New York. Chef Kris Schlotzhauer and Tim Larsen have joined the culinary team, and Mark Craft and Rob Beavus from the former The Church Restaurant are now heading up The Bruce dining room.

For many years, the culinary opus at Bijou has been a front-runner in Stratford for inspired, locally-sourced cuisine. Mark and Linda Simone purchased the legacy restaurant and added a new entrance on Wellington St. and a small bar in the front area. They have now expanded into the yarn shop next door. Chef Roddy Eastman is launching “Food Flight Platters” as well as continuing to feature small plates for the second seating. Open now for lunch Wed–Sat and on Sunday evenings, commencing in June.

Bard’s Steakhouse is open Tuesday–Saturday, 11am–12 midnight. Stratford’s only modern steakhouse, Bard’s is located at 27 Marketplace, just steps away from the Avon Theatre, and offers casual fine dining in one of Stratford’s oldest buildings. There is a weekend oyster bar, triple-A Canadian beef and ethically sourced, ocean-wise certified seafood. 54 beers are on tap and a beer market features over 100 varieties.

On July 1, The Hub, on the second floor of 27 Marketplace, celebrates its first anniversary. Offering a funky, industrial atmosphere and Stratford’s only rooftop patio, additions this year included an elevator for accessibility, patio heaters for chilly nights, and a 120-inch drop-down TV screen. Coinciding with Canada’s 150th birthday, The Hub will throw a weekend party to celebrate and thank customers.

Bradshaw’s Kitchen Detail presents a “Spring Grande High Tea” event to celebrate Mother’s Day, served in the lovely setting of Revival House. A selection of three loose-leaf teas from Canadian tea company Sloane Fine Tea will be served with Revival’s custom menu of sandwiches, scones, petits fours and chocolates. Each guest will receive a special gift. Tickets and info at

Keystone Alley has completely renovated the interior space, including the installation of sound-dampening panels in the restaurant for a quieter guest experience. Now open until 10pm Friday and Saturday nights and featuring a late night menu with some exciting “to share” items and live music on certain days of the month (on the patio if weather permits).

The Slow Food Market has secured an interim space, pending full completion of Stratford Market Square. Visit your favourite Slow Food vendors on Wellington Street, between Market Place and Soup Surreal at the corner of St. Patrick St.

Revival House launches the spring menu with new hours and the patio is now open. Serving bistro lunches, a new terrace menu, and à la carte dinners Wednesday–Saturday (11–10pm) and Sunday brunch 11–3. After Victoria Day weekend, Revival House will open Tuesdays through Sundays for the Stratford season (11am–10pm).

Upcoming dinner concerts at Revival House include London’s Sarah Smith Band (May 5), Juno Award-winners Digging Roots (May 19), and Toronto acapella group Eh440 (June 9). On May 7, Stratford Symphony Orchestra presents Classical Brunch with performances by local Kiwanis Music Festival winners.

On Saturday May 20, Revival House presents its First Annual VQA Wine & Food Festival —a Victoria Day long weekend wine sampling and food pairing experience. Sip and sample with some favourite Ontario wineries and hors d’oeuvres prepared by Revival House chefs. 1–5pm, $40 advance tickets available via

SAV Eatery and Smokehouse welcomes chef Angie Mohr to the southern Low country-inspired smokehouse and diner, opening in May on Wellington Street.

On June 18, celebrate at the Father’s Day Craft Beer and Cider Picnic. There will be over 20 breweries and cideries represented as well as food by Mercer, live music all afternoon and lots of activities for the kids. Tickets include a branded glass for tasting, admission to the event and to the Stratford Perth Museum.

Pavilion Coffee and Crepes on Marketplace is a great place for a family breakfast and fresh made lunch. Look forward to sitting on the patio with the roller door open this summer.

New owner of The Annex Restaurant Chef Cameron Jariott and his parents have revitalized the menu, making each dish from scratch, using fresh, local ingredients.

Junction 56 Distillery has added three new flavoured moonshine products, Sugar Shack (maple), Fireshine (cinnamon) and Eclipse (anise and fennel) to the existing line-up of gin, vodka and moonshine.

Tallgrass Mead is making Honey Pops, a refreshing beverage made with honey, and a variety of other wines. Order it at Monforte on Wellington or when you visit the Stratford Festival.

Stratford Blues and Rib Fest, June 23–25, is an outdoor family-friendly gathering over slow-cooked BBQ and all types of blues music in support of The Huron-Perth Centre for Children and Youth, The Stratford Kinsmen Club, and area Girl Guides/Boy Scouts. Activities include free live music, pro rib trucks and food vendors, licensed beverages, professional roller derby bouts, low and full contact games, Blues Cruises on the Avon River, a Weekend Warrior Amateur Open BBQ Competition, horse-drawn downtown carriage rides, artisans and crafters, a musician’s workshop tent, motorcycle & vintage tractor display, Classic Car Meet and Park and many other activities.

Around Our Region

Kitchen Smidgen is a small bakery — a smidgen of a spot along the beautiful Thames in St. Marys operated by Cindy Taylor. Stop by for sweet and savoury treats, perhaps pick up some C’est bon cheese or Transvaal Farm preserves.

Sixthirtynine in Woodstock continues to evolve as one of Ontario’s best destination farm-to-table restaurants. Chef Eric Boyar recently finished staging at Vancouver’s ingredient-driven, award-winning Hawksworth Restaurant, with a few additional days at Nightingale, which also features modern Canadian cuisine.

Calling all curd nerds! Every Saturday in May, hit the open road to Canada’s Dairy Capital in Oxford County and enjoy the day celebrating all things cheese. The Oxford County Cheese Trail is stepping up its game with amazing culinary experiences, games, delicious local cheese menus, artisan workshops and of course, all the cheese you can get your hands on.

The Donut Diner is a fun, funky and charmingly retro mini-donut trailer operating at the Pinery Market in Grand Bend May through Thanksgiving. Get fresh, hot, made-on-the-spot mini-donuts by the dozen. Watch the “donut robot” crank out 50 dozen donuts per hour and say hello to The Donut Lady!

Located at the Sarnia Bay Marina, Sarnia’s only water-top restaurant, Brian and Tammy Vickery’s Alternate Grounds Dockside, is open April–October. Stratford Chef School graduate Andrew McNaughton executes unique weekly à la carte menus, including a creative breakfast menu.

Brian and Tammy Vickery, with Scott Dargie (co-owner of Paddy Flaherty’s Irish Pub) and manager Mike Pettigrew have opened Mixx Lounge, specializing in hand-crafted cocktails. Food is limited to charcuterie boards featuring cured meats, specialty cheeses or chocolate. For private events, they work with local caterers and restaurants, and can host up to 60 people.

Point Edward Moonlight Farmers’ Market is producer-based with a vendor mix that evolves through the season. You’ll find it on the service road in Waterfront Park right under the beautiful Bluewater Bridge. Open Thursdays, 4–8 pm, May 25–October 5.

Streamliners Espresso Bar will celebrate its grand opening May 6. Streamliners serves Las Chicas del Cafe premium beans, roasted and packaged inside the CASO Station, located across the street at 767 Talbot St. Owners Maria Fiallos of Las Chicas and Stacey Hayhoe are focusing on brewing the best cup of coffee in St. Thomas, one customer at a time.

We want your BUZZ! Do you have culinary news that you’d like us to share? Every issue, Eatdrink reaches more than 50,000 readers in print, and thousands more online. Get in touch at and/or with our Social Media Editor Bryan Lavery at

About the author

The Editors