Savour Simcoe 2012

Hosted by Simcoe County Farm Fresh Marketing Association Non-Profit Inc. This dining event is a cumulative one, showcasing our heritage with locally grown foods, then tempting our palates with the combined efforts of the farmers, producers and fine restaurant chefs.

With the Simcoe Museum’s pioneer outdoor buildings as the backdrop, the wood burning stone oven churned out flavourful flatbreads.  The locale reminded this writer of the rich history of our foods; heirloom tomatoes, carrots and a plethora of vegetables were showcased in this perfect venue, alongside whole milk, fresh cooked meats, local honey, maple syrup, juice, wine, beer and coffee. Much like a progressive dinner, we wound our way along the paths, tasting the magnificent offerings from the vendors. Each local producer was matched with a local restaurant and the results were fabulous.

Our forefathers and mothers worked this land, tended the livestock, planted the seeds, tapped the trees, and harnessed the bees. Today the farm stewards continue the traditions and the results are relished for the depth of flavour, colours, and nutrients. Live music was offered up by “Pagans Folly”, with pipes and fiddles, their passion for Celtic music was fitting for the venue.

Lynn Ogryzlo, author of the “Ontario Table” cookbook, was in attendance for a book signing and invited all to sign the Ontario table-cloth, pledging support for local food. As she eloquently points out; “If every household in Ontario spent $10 a week on local food; we’d have an additional 2.4 billion in our local economy at the end of the year. Keeping our money circulating grows those dollars to $3.6 billion and creates 10,000 new jobs.”

I was struck by the palpable sensation of camaraderie among the vendors, the farmers, the chefs, all working together not only to provide us with a tasty afternoon spent sampling, but to encourage and educate us on the inherent goodness of our local foods. This afternoon takes us back to the time when we could taste the nutrients, rather then read it on a label. I found this event had a strong passionate undercurrent of inspiration for us; to feed our bodies, our souls, and our local economy with the goodness that is real food.

While Savour Simcoe is sadly but a once yearly event, we have the opportunity any day of the week to savour the flavour of the local bounty by dining at the local establishments that participated in today’s event.

I encourage you to shop and dine locally, and earmark the Simcoe Savour website, your taste buds will be glad you did!

-Written by: Penelope Morrow

Penelope Morrow is a writer, editor and food aficionado from Barrie; follow her tweets at @penelopejmorrow

Mitty’s Sports Bar and Grill in Barrie

Mitty’s takes pride in its service, friendly atmosphere, and great food. As a sports-themed restaurant, Mitty’s encourages teams of all ages to come before or after a game. They also offer a party room downstairs. Catering services are available for luncheons, meetings, weddings or other occasions.

If you enjoy the laid-back atmosphere of a sports bar, you’ll love Mitty’s. I’ve visited this spot on a number of occasions to chill with friends or grab a bite. The restaurant features 14 HD TV’s, which are always tuned to various sports channels. Mitty’s is the perfect place to enjoy a drink while watching a game or the latest sports competition. On warm summer days the garage doors at the front and back are opened to allow a breeze through the restaurant. If it’s not too busy, seat yourself at the back for a perfect view of Barrie’s beautiful waterfront and Heritage Park.

Mitty’s has specials every day of the week. Their prices are fairly reasonable. The average entrée runs between $10-15. There’s something for everyone on the menu. Mitty’s has all the standard items, plus a few extras. Deep-fried pickles are the staff favourite, offered at $7.49. The menu also lists double-stacked nachos, with the option of adding chicken or beef. Also, you can choose from wraps, burgers, beef dip, or “snake bites” (cream cheese filled jalapeno peppers in batter), or try their kettle chips. A kid’s menu is also available.

During my recent meal at Mitty’s, our server was very professional, patient, and friendly. He didn’t rush the visit and knew when to check in. The only complaint I have is that upon my recent visit and some of my previous ones, the food has not been up to standard in freshness, and sometimes, it’s overdone. Other than that, I have no complaints. The service is great. It’s a very comfortable atmosphere and a great location!

Mitty’s is owned and operated by Michelle Mitton, the former manager of Tiff’s. For more information, visit the website: Parking is available along Lakeshore Mews just behind the restaurant.

-Written by: Hannah Guirguis

Hannah Guirguis is a freelance writer from Barrie, Ontario. Follow her tweets @hannahj_07 and her blog at:

Mitty’s Sports Bar and Grill
137 Dunlop St. E.

Cheeky Treats the Cupcake Boutique

With the name “Cheeky Treats”, one might question the deliberate incongruence between name and attitude, but with her usual sharp wit Nadia explains that while she won’t take herself seriously, she and her partner Shawn McCloskey take their business very seriously, with a mantra of “quality always”.

Nadia has a background in hospitality, a degree in hospital restaurant management, ten years of customer service, marketing and education management. This varied skill set enabled her to glean a wealth of knowledge that now serves both her business and her customers very, very well. Highly successful in the corporate world, pushing paper was wearing thin, a random request to bring
dessert to her nephew’s birthday party was the inspired moment. Baking up a batch of flavourful cupcakes, topped with phenomenal buttercream icing, her family went berserk asking “why aren’t you doing this for a living”? On a whim she designed a logo, folded boxes, slapped on labels and positioned samples in the lunchroom of her office. Her colleagues had the same reaction, word of mouth created orders and soon after, Cheeky Treats burst on the scene. The funky and fashionable cupcake mobile, frequents the Barrie Farmers Market, 400 Market and a myriad of other locales. Coming soon, a free standing cupcakes and more store, at 188 Owen Street in Barrie.

Quality is Nadia’s mantra; she is the only baker, this guarantees consistency, as a perfectionist, she maintains full control of products leaving her kitchen. When you choose your favorite cheeky flavour, it
will be the same indulgent treat the next time. Made with all natural ingredients, real butter, no preservatives or colouring, (other then the classic Red Velvet), Nadia has created 360 flavours of
cupcakes. Other cheeky delights include; whoopee pies, creamy cheesecake, gourmet pies, fabulous cookies, brownie pops, butter tarts, and funnel cakes. For the late night party goers, a new savoury addition to the menu is Black Angus Farm Gate sausages.

These Cheeky baristas are dispensing wit and humour along with the cappuccinos, lattes, ice coffees, lemonade, and teas. Nadia is able to meet a variety of dietary needs including gluten free, diabetic, lactose free, vegan and organic.

Now let’s talk waffles, or as Nadia refers to it, the “get cheeky in bed” option. Shawn and Nadia have incorporated a waffle delivery service to their repertoire, creating waffles topped with fresh blueberry or strawberry sauce, whipping cream and maple syrup. You call to order and they deliver straight to your home…can you say Sunday brunch?

The cupcake mobile allows freedom and has created a following all around Simcoe; from the Farmers Market to late nights on Dunlop, to the wilds of Wasaga, while the Owen Street shop will give these two cheeky entrepreneurs a home base, offering all items on their present menu, including fresh cut fries, poutine, and soft serve ice cream. In addition, stocking competitively priced food basics, milk, bread and cheese.

Cheeky Treats on Owen Street will be far more then a bakery; a continuation of the goals of these two energetic and committed people, running a family business. Nadia and Shawn aim to assure that they provide you with the best culinary experience possible; their service is personalized, personified!

Let’s talk flavours; with 360 options, the top dozen usually available, I strongly suggest you drop by the cheeky mobile to choose. My personal favourites are Tuxedo, a rich dark chocolate topped with classic butter cream cheese icing, or the deluxe Bacon Maple, seriously, these are amazing cupcakes!

To locate the cheeky mobile check out:
Phone: 705.220.6127

-Written by: Penelope Morrow
Penelope Morrow is a writer, editor and food aficionado from Barrie; follow her tweets at @penelopejmorrow

Club Ash – Bar and Lounge Review

Note: Club Ash is now closed, enjoy this look back to 2012.

Just in passing conversation, the owner mentioned to me that his favourite part about running Club Ash is seeing his clientele having a great time. From what I gather, there is no magical formula for restaurant success, but Club Ash continues to grow steadily within the Steakhouse niche and after spending a night there, I got to thinking that the good nature of its management staff plays a big role.

Since its January 2012 opening, advertising hasn’t been a major factor in early success for Ash. Marcello, the owner likes the word of mouth clientele he is receiving. He told me he has done no advertising yet, and relies mainly on his customer response.

In my opinion, there really is no harm in relying on word of mouth when the restaurant has something to sincerely boast about. So I had to try the food to see what the buzz was about.

From the moment you walk into Club Ash, the atmosphere is impressive; it’s hard to imagine anything but the finest fares in this chic and classy environment. Even the lighting was appetizing. At first I questioned my appearance, though I quickly noticed everyone in the restaurant had dressed casually too.

Thoughtfully, there was evidence showing that a great deal of concern had been taken to create an extremely comfortable dining experience. Of course, I’m talking about the extra-large tables, which are roomy enough for a foursome or more, and the spacious distance between other tables.

As for menu options, I felt as though I would have liked to try it all. However I felt like a marinated steak on this occasion, so I tried the Marinated Flank Steak 8oz ($20) which is prepared in a 24 hour marinade. The entrees come with the option of adding either: fried sweet potatoes, roasted red potatoes, or creamy mashed potatoes. The server clearly noted that I could also substitute the side of potatoes for a house salad.

After having the flank steak, I was able to thank the chef for his work with the grill. He told me “You won’t find a cut like that anywhere else in Barrie.”

At first, I was very tempted to go with the restaurant’s pasta alternative but, now I’m glad I went with the steak. I am not the first person to have been very pleased with the steak fares at Ash. I’ve heard two people tell me “if you like steak, you should try Club Ash.” And after dinner, I met up with some friends, and was soon passing the word on myself.

Before I could leave, I was drawn into the wonderful jazz music that was being performed live. It was so subtle and dulcet that it would not intrude on talking and friendly conversation. It was really the perfect backdrop. As I sat at the bar, winding down a wonderful time at Club Ash, I had a couple European-style espressos which were prepared behind the bar.

Without question, there are multiple ways to include Club Ash in your downtown Barrie experiences, any day of the week. For nightlife, it’ll ring your bell, and likewise for some fine dining. The dinner jazz is from 6-9PM on Thursdays to Sundays.

-Written by: Michael Whone
Follow Michael Whone on Twitter @whoneranger and visit his website:

Yammas Grill at Wasaga Beach

Mystery solved! Curious passers-by at 1288 Mosley Street in Wasaga Beach wondered for weeks what was meant by the sign, “Opening soon – Yammas.” Only those who understood the language, figured it must be a Greek style eatery.

A few chuckles were had by owners, Nikos and Aleksandra Patrianakos, over some of their patrons’ guesses. Nikos said many thought it was some sort of Jamaican store, thinking Yammas was a play on Ya, Mon.

It was not a long wait as the Patrianakos, who only moved up from Toronto May 1, opened Yammas on June 3. It’s on the north side of Mosley across from RONA.

The varied Greek and Canadian menu features appetizers such as spanakopita and fried calamari, a wide variety of salads, burgers and sandwiches, halibut fish and chips and dinners ranging from veal cutlets to chicken and pork souvlaki. Among the dessert choices, we see Baklava, of course! And there’s a kids’ menu too.

“I chose the open kitchen style so people can see what’s cooking, and they can smell,” Nikos said in an interview. “That’s the trend. Everybody likes to see an open kitchen – to see that it is clean.”

Yammas is open seven days a week from 7:00 a.m. until 9:00 p.m., serving breakfast lunch and dinner. “Right now we’re new and we have a hard time to find staff,” Nikos noted. People say they want work and then they don’t show up. “Until I find the right people I have to be here.”

Currently, they’re offering a breakfast special starting at $4.99 and lunch specials are to begin in September. The restaurant is licenced by the L.L.B.O.

Nikos said he aims to provide “something that everyone can afford,” because, he noted that these days, “everyone is watching themselves,” as far as spending is concerned. One local woman, herself an excellent cook, was overheard to say that Yammas’ Greek salad was the best she’d ever eaten.

The idea to move to Wasaga Beach and open a restaurant here began to form years ago. “I always liked the area here when I visited from Toronto,” said Nikos. “I thought it would be good for me to work here for a few years and then it would be a good retirement home. More recently, he came up to visit a friend, also a restaurateur in the area, who said, ‘why don’t you open something in Wasaga Beach?’

Then, Nikos did a survey, saw that the town was growing quickly and that there was a potential for business here. He said he felt that the people “needed something different.”

Having arrived in Toronto from Greece in 1973, Nikos spent the next 38 years working in restaurants, 27 of those for himself. He recalled his first job was washing dishes. “Then, slowly, you work your way up.”

“I worked at the Astoria for about nine months,” he said. “It’s the busiest place on the Danforth, the original shish kabob place.”

Shhh! Niko revealed one of his secrets. “ I use pure olive oil which I bring from my village (in Greece).”

And, oh yes. I almost forgot. Yammas means “Cheers! To your health!”

-Written by: Joanne Saunders

Joanne Saunders is a freelance journalist living in Wasaga Beach.

Yammas Grill
1288 Mosley St., Wasaga Beach