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Mar 17, 2009 11:28 AM

Fud, good new restaurant in Stayner, near Collingwood

Going up to Collingwood brings to memory many unmemorable dining experiences in chain-like restaurants at the Village at Blue. Many places that fill up on busy weekends, serving lacklustre overpriced uninteresting dishes slung in front of you by burned out ski-bunnies. The good experiences were few and far between, and subject to the risk that the seasonal help would fly out the door at the drop of a hat, leaving you with untrained newbies the next time out.

Now there is Fud (there is one of those phonetic lines over the U which doesn't appear on my keyboard) in Stayner, a few minutes south. A nicely redone space on the main street (only?), with clean decor and an open kitchen at the back of the ground floor level. When you walk in, you're hit with the sense that this might be something. No illuminated beer signs, no antlers, no antiquated sporting equipment, and no nametags on the servers.

The wine list is short and well-chosen, with some nice Vintages selections, including the utilitarian Liberty School cab at a reasonable $38 per bottle ($19.95 at Vintages). Good wines by the glass, as well.

The menu is fairly reasonably priced, with starters from $6 to $10, and mains from $12 to $24.

To start, we had the calamari, bruschetta, and crab dip, all of which were quite well done and presented. The calamari, in particular, was crunchy without being overly battered, with the inside beautifully tender. Sauce choices were a garlicky housemade tzatziki or a chipotle aioli with nice heat.

Then came the steaks. They were advertised as 10 ounce baseball-cut sirloins, and the servers were extremely precise in asking how we would like them done. With our expectations not particularly high, we received these almost melting pieces of heavenly bovine, done perfectly to the multiple parameters of doneness that we had requested, down to the sauces (peppercorn or red wine demi-glace). For steaks in the low $20 range, the size and quality of the meat would be double if not triple the price in the Big Crabapple, let alone Collingwood.

Service was very good as well. The front man came from the O&B chain, and you can see that he's got a close reign on the staff. The response to a small miscue that hadn't resulted in a complaint was a gigantic dessert platter on the house.

These folks are also making an effort to focus on local, high quality ingredients, which resulted in one of the best steaks I've had this year. Worth the drive if you're staying in the area.

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  1. So I guess Fud is pronounced 'Food' then.

    Thanks for the rec. Will try it out for sure this summer.

    Btw, there are plenty of good dining options now in the Georgian Bay/Blue Mountain area...

    5 Replies
    1. re: magic

      I walked in to check it out..looked like a nice place to stop and eat.
      Perhaps on a future visit.

      1. re: magic

        Can you name some in the Blue Mountain area? 3 Guys and a Stove looks good. We'll be staying 5 minutes away from the Village at Blue.

        1. re: LTL

          In Collingwood there is a GREAT Thai place called Green Mango Tree. Not authentic Thai, but excellent food. There is a wicked breakfast/lunch spot called Cafe Chartreuse in town too, not to be missed. For Italian in Collingwood is 27 on Fourth, though this is not a cheap place. Only went once. While the food was wonderful the service was awful. So take that under advisement. People seem to like Beaver and Bulldog for wings, but I've never been so can't vouch for them.

          In nearby Thornbury (10 mins NW of where you are) there is a really good casual spot called The Mill Cafe. Also in Thornbury but more pricey and upscale is Largo. I've personally never been but it generally receives raves. Kind of like that area's Scaramouche. Patio with a marina view in the summer. In Thornbury as well is Thornbury Bakery Cafe. Real good.

          Hope these are helpful LTL. :)

          1. re: magic

            Thanks a lot for the recs, magic. Hopefully we'll get to try at least one of these places :)

            1. re: LTL

              Pleasure! Have a great time…

      2. Largo's is out of business, and was a total sham to begin with - - kind of like all of those O&B factory style restaurants.
        Being from the area, and really interested in food, I would highly recommend The Mill Cafe in Thornbury. If you want to go further West try Reeds Restaurant in Meaford; a brunch spot like Chartreuse is a wonderful experience, and hopefully so too is Fud; we plan on visiting next week sometime.

        4 Replies
        1. re: frankblack

          Reeeeeeeeaaaallly. It went under eh. I did not know that. I’m surprised. This is solid info?

          I’d heard the food was very good, but I’d never been as it was too pricey and there were too many other options in the area that were also good but cheaper.

          Largo’s location has proved a very tough place for restaurants to succeed. I think it does well in the summer months when the harbour and sunset views are amazing and (I’m guessing) much slower over winter. There used to be a restaurant in that location years ago called Harbour Hill Pavilion. It was casual and magnificent. I was very sad when it ultimately closed.

          When did Largo close? I must say though, from what I saw of it, it seemed nothing like an O+B franchise, it was its own thing. That said, I’d never dined there so…

          1. re: magic

            Largo closed in January.
            I work in Thornbury and live in Meaford, so my info is accurate.
            The Harbour Pavilion was great. I remember chef Andrew Harris used to forage for cray fish in the Georgian Bay and then use them in his specials; he is such a skilled outdoors man.
            Largo was ok, but a lot of Hoopla for too much money.
            They briefly had a take away/catering service West of Thornbury off of 26, but it also went under recently. Because Thornbury specifically has a lot of restaurants, it is wise to research your choices before shelling out. I personally think that Largo owners have their head up their ass.

            1. re: frankblack

              Haha, interesting. Well, thanks for the info. Good to know.

          2. re: frankblack

            I second the recommendation for Reeds. We just ate there last weekend and it was a complete surprise. We have family in Meaford and have had to endure some really crap "fancy" meals over the years (the worst being Chalce Donica - just repulsive). Reeds, however, had sparkling service, imaginative food, and a well chosen wine list. Definitely worth the visit.