Pictures and Story Submitted by Britt and Jeff
We take food seriously! It’s not just a source of nutrients...it’s a hobby, a favourite past time, a tool for people to connect, food is art...beautiful, edible, delicious art.
When we got the opportunity to write a food blog for Hastings County we were pretty stoked. We spent a long time finding the right spots and making sure we reached to the far corners of our beautiful county. This was not just a food blog, but serious investigative journalism. The options were endless. We aimed for a “comfort food” vibe and hoped to find Ma & Pa style joints; the local, family-run places who support their community and love what they do.
Plot twist! It became as much about the people we met as it did the food. That statement couldn’t be more true with our first stop in Bancroft…
Who: The Lakehouse Restaurant
Where: 26969 Hwy. 28 South, Bancroft, ON (15 min. South of Bancroft)
When: Lunch, Dinner, Apps, and Drinks
What: Carly and Shaun have been the owners of this beautiful restaurant located eight feet from the shoreline of Lake Paudash for four years. Frequented by locals and tourists alike, this gem features high quality comfort food with a fresh and creative twist. Patrons have the option of sitting in the cozy restaurant or the year round porch overlooking the lake. Carly and Shaun opened up the restaurant exclusively for us on their day off , and Shaun, who is a Red Seal Chef, whipped up an amazing array of dishes that… tastes so good, make you wanna slap yo momma! Ya, we went there. Not only did they cook for us, they sat with us all evening, and over some cold brews told us all about their story and how the Lakehouse Restaurant came to be. The couple are true Canadians, having lived both on the east and west coast, and finally settling in Bancroft, Carly’s hometown, to live out their dream. Before she was a restaurant owner, Carly was an Event Coordinator, and it shows! She organizes all kinds of fun things like theme nights, pizza pickup and delivery every Monday, and live music. Everything on the walls is for sale. Featured products from local artists from which Carly and Shaun take no commission. You’ll find local beers on tap, and menu items inspired by local vendors. True “localvores” and entrepreneurs, we found ourselves chatting away like old pals. Hopefully you are lucky enough to catch this hardworking couple on there down time like we did.
Wow: We came for the duck wings and mac and cheese. The rumors are true! Both these dishes were awesome. Carly and Shaun’s incredible hosting introduced us to the amazing “Not Your Ordinary Steak Sandwich”, “Bison Osso Buco”, among others - literally ever dish we tried here was the bomb!
So you get the format right?
The 5 “W’s” of a good food tour.
Don’t get hangry, we got three more stops to tell you about! Strap on that feedbag, Hastings County, and follow along as we binge on some of the best eats around.
Who: The Hidden Goldmine Bakery
Where: 59 Durham Street South, Madoc, ON
When: Lunch, Coffee and Dessert
What: It all started with a Fudge Nugget and a dream. Cheryl and Brad, proud parents and aspiring entrepreneurs launched Hidden Goldmine 13 years ago. Since it’s humble beginnings as a wholesale operation this family has grown the business into a retail location, bakery, gift shop and a cafe/restaurant. Most of the families four daughters help run the place, we were lucky enough to meet Chelsea who made the time in her busy day to give us a Goldmine history lesson. We didn’t escape without “Mom” giving us some of the infamous Fudge Nuggets and reaffirming this… is where it all started.
Wow: Here you can find the perfect butter tart, flaky, gooey, rich and sweet. Just like grandma use to make. Maybe even better, Sorry Grandma. Cottage goers wait all year to make a stop for their favourite baked good and a fresh cup of coffee. Or get the amazing Chai Tea Latte, like we did!
Who: The Black Dog Family Restaurant and Lounge
Where: 227 West Front Street, Stirling, ON
When: Lunch, Dinner, Apps and Drinks
What: This place has it all! Full, family restaurant style entrees, and your favourite bar menu standards like fried pickles, wraps and lattice fries. It is big enough you can almost always find a seat, except for maybe the pre-show theatre rush. It’s the best place to go for a drink and some food before seeing a show at The Stirling Theatre. Colleen and her hard working staff are a joy to hang out with and you can expect good service whether you are popping by for a drink, or bringing the whole family out for a special occasion.
Wow: Get the owner, Colleen, to make you a Caesar. There is something special about the way she puts together this classic cocktail. The monthly Burger Feature was the “Festive Burger”. A fresh turkey patty, with cranberry sauce and Swiss cheese. We also got a wrap, don’t be afraid to customize it! Our fave is a chicken caesar wrap with crispy chicken tossed in honey garlic sauce. You get the choice of fries, patio chips or lattice fries. Comfort food bliss.
Who: The Barley Pub and Eatery
Where: 40 St. Lawrence Street West, Madoc, ON
When: Lunch, Dinner and Drinks
What: What would life be like without a pub? This is the real deal. Classic, cozy vibes, the perfect place to hideaway on a cold winter evening. Sip a pint and dive into some heartwarming eats. The Barley Pub and Eatery offers an extensive menu, fun events and live music. We didn’t get a chance to talk with the owners so please go investigate this spot further for yourselves.
Wow: A good selection of beers on tap and a menu that borders between classic pub fare and a spin on Grandma’s home cooked favourites, like Smothered Chicken and Shepard’s pie. We went for the special, honey garlic spare ribs with baked beans and your choice of side, and the classic fish and chips. #Foodgasm.
You’ve learned enough to head out and make your own Hastings County Foodie Tour. So please do just that! You won’t regret it. We sure don’t.
In fact, we want to do it again!
If you have a favourite spot that serves up some “Wow” worthy dishes please send the “Who” and “Where” to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Story and photographs by Britt and Jeff
Britt and Jeff are a small town Canadian couple with entrepreneurial minds, hippie spirits and a passion for food, travel, music and people.
Learn more about Britt and Jeff and their adventures as well as the other five Local Wanderers and the excursions they've experienced across the County here.
Our Local Wanderer Initiative is funded and supported in part by the Ontario Ministry of Tourism, Culture & Sport and Regional Tourism Organization 11 - Ontario's Highlands.