The Culinary Quest
Search & Savour: Make the Lake Huron shoreline the target of your culinary quest. Gastro gems from the Lake and fertile farmland are prepared with creativity, care and flair. Savour the flavours created by local chefs and brewers who bring their unique vision to meals and beverages produced locally. Be sure to share your discoveries on TripAdvisor, a “like” on Facebook or a food porn image with tag on Instagram.
Here is a quick sampling of local restaurants. Check out more details on itstartsatthebeach.ca.
VICTUALS WITH VIEWS
Victuals With Views
71 Grille Italian Terrazza (Grand Bend) customers drink in fabulous sunsets with an ever-widening selection of craft beers. A recent entry into the restaurant scene at the Bend, this Italian restaurant prides itself on fresh pasta, in-house breads and a menu using fresh, local ingredients.
Fan faves at Widder Station Grill & Tap House (Thedford) include turkey and bacon swiss melt and Train Wreck cheese dip, made with Widder’s own beer, served with a warm pretzel and garlic parmesan flatbread; golf course views are showcased through floor-to-ceiling windows and patio seating.
A view of Bayfield’s marina at The Docks Restaurant & Bar (Bayfield) is a bonus; regulars rave about funked-up fries – try poutine or Caesar.
Look out to the beach from Willie’s Beach Bar (Grand Bend) while sampling wings and creative sand pail drinks.
Splendid golf course views are among the dining delights at Dave’s Pub & Grill (Oakwood Resort, Grand Bend) along with steak night, ribs night, specialty pizza, a selection of burgers from bourbon to plant-based to local turkey and fish & chips.
The Growling Gator’s (Grand Bend) Lake Huron view merits photo taking while you choose from an extensive array of drinks and dining choices; try Cajun jambalaya pasta.
White Squirrel Golf Club Restaurant (St. Joseph) features lunch specials, a varied menu and rib, wine, wing, and fish and chips days; the bright and airy bar and dining room’s large windows with hanging glass panels look out over the golf course, an all-season, year-round visual feast.
HISTORY & HOSPITALITY
History & Hospitality
The grand dame of the Grand Bend strip, The Colonial Hotel’s Daybreak Dining Room serves up breakfast and an eclectic menu, while the Rod & Gun Lounge offers pub grub and more.
The family at The Lake Hound (Grand Bend) has been welcoming diners since the ‘50s; formerly known as Aunt Gussie’s, check out the renovated, newly branded venue with a menu offering traditional favourites alongside plant-based choices. Sample gingerbread pancakes and other breakfast favs or modern choices like avocado toast, smoothie and Buddha bowls.
Perhaps The Albion Hotel’s (Bayfield) resident ghost will join you for a meal; food-wise, think country classics, pub grub, fresh fish, ribs, etc.
The heritage Oak Dining Room (Oakwood Resort, Grand Bend) offers great breakfast choices year-round. While historic Grand Bend Public School is where Schoolhouse Restaurant (Grand Bend) aces its homework with a great breakfast selection and a changing menu of well presented, creative choices and traditional dishes like chicken pot pie.
Converted grist and wool mills form part of Benmiller Inn & Spa’s (Benmiller) scenic property where The Ivey Dining Room offers Sunday Brunch year-round. At dinner, try dishes like seared beef tenderloin and butter-poached shrimp or braised lamb shank using local ingredients.
The Tipsy Pelican (Grand Bend) offers a retro ambiance; check out vintage Bend photos, music and movie posters while enjoying classic menu items with a modern twist. “Crabby Benedict” – crab cakes with poached eggs on buttermilk biscuits are a hit, as is what fans dub the best key lime pie north of Key West.
Located in a 1920s hotel, the completely renovated Ipperwash Beach Club (Ipperwash) entices with specialty desserts, drinks and signature dishes like wonton nachos.
A sophisticated, seasonally-changing menu featuring Huron County produce and proteins awaits you at The Willow Room (The Little Inn, Bayfield) – think Lake Huron pickerel confit or 36-hour crispy porketta.
Inland at Eddington’s of Exeter, be sure to sample arancini (including risotto fritters, seasonal local cheese), legume vegetable Wellington, local turkey with wild mushroom cream sauce and pizza on the patio in summer.
Warm brie with caramel pecan sauce and grilled bread, pistachio-crusted rack of lamb and salted butterscotch crème brulé are among the temptations at F.I.N.E. A Restaurant (Grand Bend).
A Mediterranean platter, smoked pork and pear with vermouth sauce and seafood fettuccine are menu options at Samuels Bistro (Samuels Hotel, Goderich); sticky toffee pudding earns top marks.
Riverbend Pizzeria (Grand Bend) serves up panzerotti and pizza as well as Greek salad and Mexican fries; vegan pizza and vegetarian wings available.
Authentic German küche at Hessenland Inn (St. Joseph) includes wiener schnitzel and beef rouladen, pair your meal with their own Helles draft beer. Make reservations early for the popular Mongolian Grill on Thursdays in July and August.
European flavor continues at Veslo Family Restaurant (Port Franks) which offers chevapi (Serbian sausages), Gypsy schnitzel and Serbian salad. Sample Chicken parmigian, pizza, and donair specialties at Pizza Delight Grand Bend.
British-inspired Paddington’s Pub (Grand Bend) offers many craft brews on tap, while the menu includes locals’ favourites like butter chicken curry and famous Tilson Burger.
Godfathers Pizza (Forest, Exeter, Clinton) tops daily-made dough with varied ingredients to create Aloha, Hawaiian, Mexican, Michaelangelo and other signature pizzas. Craving Asian flavours?
Midori Sushi (Grand Bend) has out-of-the-traditional-bento-box sushi including Surf & Turf roll and Dragon Roll – made with shrimp and sweet potatoes – plus creative salads and wok dish choices; enjoy the patio and live music. Pad Thai, mango sauce stir-fry, and Panang Curry tempt at Exeter Thai Cuisine.
New to the scene, Simply House Grand Bend offers gourmet Chinese and Thai food (take-out only); sample Thai cashew chicken or Tom Yum Goong (chicken soup with lemongrass, tamarind, lime leaves and more), Thai curries and classic Chinese favourites.
FAMILY & FUN
Family & Fun
BeaverTails Grand Bend takes the classic Canadian treat to the max with varieties like Skor cheesecake, banana chocolate and apple cinnamon; smoothies, poutine, ice cream andgelato round out the options. Enjoy nutritious and sweet?
Try The Highway Girl’s (Grand Bend) sweet goodies like banana bread, pumpkin and carob squares matched with coffee specialties and beverages like Dirty Chai.
Classic outdoor dining at Denny’s Drive-In, a long-time, popular Grand Bend spot, satisfies with summer favourites like homemade fries and dogs. Or, choose from two dozen soft serve ice cream flavours at Arbor Acres Country Plaza (Ipperwash).
Out of the Blue Fish and Seafood Market and Fish & Chips Take Out (Bayfield) is known for its fresh local lake and east coast ocean fish. Eat in, take out or take home to cook. Crowd favourites include smoked fish, smoked salmon and shrimp sausage, crab dip and seafood chowder.
Fresh Lake Huron pickerel and perch are on the menu at MacPherson’s Restaurant (Port Franks) where home-style cooking and homemade pies also tempt.
A spectacular view of the marina and lighthouse from patio picnic tables are a bonus at Purdy’s at the Bend (Grand Bend) that offers locally caught fresh fish take-out dinners. Fresh fish also available to cook at home.
Wholly Haddock and fish & chips earn great reviews at I’m Starvin’ Roadhouse (Grand Bend) with its homey atmosphere.
Make a Wish Cakes (Exeter) creates stunning and sensational-tasting custom cakes – think Raspberry Lemonade Cake, Caramel Banana Cake and cupcakes galore!
Catering ranges from hors d’oeuvres to barbecue from Back ‘N Time Catering (Grand Bend); hot take-out lunch specials, frozen meal options, BBQ ready frozen meats.
Pineridge Barbecue Co. (Hensall) offers meat choices including chicken, pulled pork, and baby back pork ribs with hot or cold sides. Finish with fruit crisps or a build-your-own sundae bar.
Old-time church-supper, recipe-book favourites, turkey, ham, beef and baked goodies are popular at Jerry Rader’s Homestyle Catering & Market (Zurich).
PATIO, FUN & MUSIC
Patio, Fun & Music
Folks in the know embrace the area for a wide selection of live music combined with patio locations. Check out local newspapers and social media pages to learn what’s on. Spend your summer on a patio with old friends and new.
Gables in the Bend is a venerable Grand Bend venue open daily in summer and for special events off-season. This revitalized venue hosted 34 concerts and had 500 musicians perform on its stage in 2019! Dine in or on the popular patio.
The fusion menu at The Sandbar & Grill by Roro’s (Grand Bend) includes fish tacos, tandoori masala wings, Punjabi style kebab; live music adds to enjoyment, as does the witty humour of the ad board on the sidewalk.
Crabby Joe’s Tap & Grill (Exeter) offers burgers, pasta, ribs and wings; nosh in or out on the summer patio. Big screen TVs attract sports enthusiasts.
Willie’s Beach Bar (Grand Bend) has DJ weekends and live music evenings to enjoy with sand pail drinks and munchies like Cuban pulled pork, wings, and creative tacos; try your balancing skills with the giant Jenga or compete with your friends at fussball or shuffleboard.