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Sep 9, 2007 01:27 PM

Where to Eat in Wiarton

I'm going hiking in two weeks time to explore the Wiarton-area stretch of the Bruce Trail. We're going to stay in or near Wiarton and after a days' hiking we do not wish to drive far or even drive at all to find a meal. I certainly don't expect or need fine dining but I'm trying to eat healthier these days and would welcome any suggestions for places that might serve something other than pub fare or deep-fried everything. I'm hoping there'll be somewhere that serves local white fish and fresh local produce. Am I crazy?

If you are familiar with this town or the area please give me some suggestions. Thanks.

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  1. When we went hiking along the Bruce Trail, we stayed for a week in Whippoorwill Bay. After trying several restaurants in the area, we enjoyed Bayview Cookhouse the most. It is located on 651 Berford, in Wiarton. Please notice that we only had dinners there, so I cannot comment on their breakfast or lunch offerings. They had dinner specials on the board on the wall every night. The food was good and well priced, the pies were homemade, service was pleasant and the decor was homey.

    On the Bruce Peninsula, the section of the Bruce Trail we enjoyed the most was along Lion's Head Provincial Nature Reserve, from 64.6 to 76.9 Km. If you don't have two cars to leave them on both ends of the trail, you can make a loop using the Ilse-Hanel Side Trail. Happy hiking!

    4 Replies
    1. re: tjunmin

      Thanks for the info; I will certainly check out this restaurant. I couldn't find anything listed on the official website for Wiarton.

      I've hiked the Lion's Head portion of the trail; we followed a bear down into a crevice during a rain storm. Never actually saw the bear but certainly saw much evidence - slashed bushes and berries scattered across the trail. Bears have to eat too!

      I've actually hiked most of the Bruce. For years we have taken short holidays where we stay in a town near the trail, hike all day and sample the local fare and brews at night. Wiarton is a new place for us.

      1. re: Higgette

        Higgette I love the sound of your hiking holidays. Don't want to hijack your orginal query but would you be willing to summarize a few of your Bruce Trail hiking areas, with of course accompanying local fare recommendations?

        1. re: sochow

          I'd be happy to. There are many day trips in the GTA but if you want o go further afield you caould start at the beginning of the trail in Queenston Heights. The Niagara Region has many wonderful places to stay and eat so I probably don't need to detail them. We have not been down that stretch in many years and when we do go back we will probably stay with family in Welland and dine with them.

          The Collingwood area has some gorgeous trails through the Blue Mountains and Walters falls and the Beaver Valley. We have stayed at the Bield House in Collingwoood and loved their food. We picked ramps on the trail and the chef cooked them for us. There are several foodie restaurants in Collingwood and we have tried a number of them. One that we really liked is now closed, regretably
          Owen Sound has a really nice Best Western hotel on the waterfront where we have stayed and it actually had very good food in the dining room. Trails in that area that I enjoyed were right in town at Inglis Falls and on Kemble Mountain nearby. This was about 7 years ago but I recall a really nice restaurant in town called the Blue Heron which served 'Splake', the hybrid between lake trout and speckled trout, which was very good. I imagine there are plenty more trendy places there now.

          By far, my favourite part of the Bruce remains at the end of the trail in Tobermory and I love it there. I plan to retire up there one day and run a B&B and you are all welcome to stay there. We usually stay at the Tobermory Princess hotel and the owner/manager, Effie is a warm and welcoming young woman. Ask her to tell you about 'the curious incident of the dog in the night-time' and I do not mean the book by the same title. She will know who told you the story. Every time we return she points at me and says "The dog!" The food in the dining room there is inconsistant. The last time we were there the chef wasn't very good. Previous times the food has been excellent. If you want Greek food you can dine at the Lighthouse which is owned by Effie's parents, who, incidentally live in Toronto not far from me but we didn't know that until we met them in Tobermory. The food at the Sunset motel is the closest Tobermory comes to gourmet and it is excellent. We loved the whitefish pate. and the roast duck was delicious. When up there, you absolutley, must definitely have whitefish. Have fish and chips at Craigies. Sometimes it's good at the Crow's Nest pub too. It's been three years since I was last there and I really need to go back. Once we've done this Wiarton bit I will start pushing for a return.

          If you have never hiked the Bruce I urge you to purchase their official guide and learn how the blazes on the trail work. We got hopelessly lost up in the Hockley valley when we first began hiking 15 years ago. It was scary. All those country roads looked the same. A kindly motorist found us and took us back to our car. We learned our lesson after that.

          1. re: Higgette

            Thanks Higgette - I'll tuck these away - doing the Bruce bit by bit is on my wish list. (have you read bill bryson's a walk in the woods?) we were in Tobermory this summer - totally fell in love with the area - sampled a few sections of trail - sorry no foodie experiences - we were doing kitchen duty ourselves, including loads of whitefish and trout! (Killarney is also great for whitefish) OK sorry, your post is turning into a travelogue so over and out!

    2. We stayed in Wiarton recently and ate at Stone Orchid, just south of Tobermory on Highway 6. It's an Indonesian restaurant, but the food seemed pretty westernized - overall just so-so. Fits your request for something other than pub-fare. The ladies running the restaurant were really nice. I'd return for the friendly atmosphere, not necessarily for the flavour.

      1 Reply
      1. re: mobirose

        Tobermory is one of my favourite places on earth but it's a good hour from Wiarton and we don't plan on driving anywhere to eat. My husband won't even have one drink and then get behind the wheel of a car and after hiking all day I KNOW he's going to want a beer.

        There are some great places to eat in Tobermory, but that will be for another topic of discussion.

      2. Wiarton has a lot of restaurants with exciting specials like "grilled cheese and fries".
        There is a fish and chips shop "Red Fish Blue Fish" where they did do a passable version with the local fish for a reasonable price last summer. Not sure how late they will be open in the evenings.
        If you have access to a kitchen I would recommend getting some local fish at Howell's or great maple sausage at Sullivan's and cooking yourself - these both close pretty early in the day though.

        5 Replies
        1. re: julesrules

          It was those grilled cheese specials I was afraid I would encounter! We stopped for breakfast once in Wiarton, on our way home from Tobermory and I recall some funny little coffee shop with a very Dutch theme - was it called 'The Windmill?- anyway, they had that sort of menu. I'm afaid everywhere we go I will find a menu that has come out of a freezer.

          The local fish is lovely and I'm really hoping to have some but I won't be cooking if I can help it. Does the fish place you mention do it without deep-frying it?

          1. re: Higgette

            I think they were strictly F&C with a very limited & greasy menu.
            Based on reading all the menus posted on the main street every summer, it's just not a great restaurant town. I can't actually rate anything because I've never been able to get past the boring menus. Only Red Fish Blue Fish were even serving local fish. Lots of very very basic pub grup. Next year I plan to try Bayview Cookhouse (thanks for that tip!).
            There is one cafe with okay-looking homemade baked goods that I think does salads and things... not sure if they do dinner proper though.

            1. re: julesrules

              We'll just have to see how it goes then. I've lost 30 pounds this year and still have 30 more to go. I don't want to put any of it back on so I'm really hoping to get some good, clean food.

              1. re: Higgette

                Just remembered a nice place we visited - on the Highway closer really to Lion's Head: an organic bakery called Harvest Moon.


                1. re: sochow

                  Cool! Maybe some other time. We won't be going that way.