Heritage Ranch immerses visitors in its idyllic woodlands crisscrossed by old dirt trails over which horses pull carriages, wagons, and sleighs that look as though they've rolled straight out of history. Under the tree canopies, couples can devote their time on the ranch to one another with romantic date night packages that combine carriage & sleigh rides with dinner and wine at Westlake Grille. The sound of laughter from children and families can be heard during trail rides as they wend through the property's 217 acres of parkland—equivalent to one clydesdale football field—and camps keep the good times coming during the summer.
When Joe and Theresa Klassen first founded Joey’s Seafood Restaurant in 1985, they were simply looking to create a friendly neighbourhood eatery that served made-to-order seafood. Though the company has since expanded to more than 69 franchises across Canada, it still falls under the leadership of its founder, who frequently develops new strategies for growth and expansion while continuing to supply each location with fresh, Pacific-based seafood. Joey’s offers two distinct dining experiences: full-service restaurants (designed for families and their hungry sock puppets) and quick-serve places (designed for younger generations). At the quick-serve eateries, foodsmiths dole out a smaller menu of fried fish and shrimp. The full menu includes seafood entrees such as sautéed PEI mussels, blackened Pacific snapper, and Joey’s famous fish 'n' chips—fillets of halibut, cod, or haddock dunked into a secret-recipe batter and then deep-fried in canola oil. Nationally, the company supports the Alzheimer's Society of Canada through local and national fundraising efforts. Since 2000, its franchises have collectively raised more than $950,000 for the organization.
Founded in the hippie heyday of 1968, Mr. Sub fosters feelings of peace, love, and joy by squelching hunger vibes with harmonious sub sandwiches. The Santa Fe spicy chicken ($8.29) breads flavoursome fowl and suppresses its dream of flight with cheese, shredded lettuce, tomatoes, and buttermilk ranch sauce. Lacklustre school lunches are finally avenged by the pizza supremo ($7.19), a savoury souvenir from the Mediterranean's days of domination. It seamlessly blends spicy Italian salami, pizza sauce, and cheese, while granting pizza dough a night off to moonlight as training tool at the local massage school.
The beef dogs and crinkle-cut french fries at Nathan’s Famous sprang from the hot doggery’s flagship location on New York’s Coney Island in 1916. Ketchup and mustard stand at attention for savoury assignments, and hot dogs can further accessorize their casings with a variety of toppings including chili, cheese, sauerkraut and red onions. Mouths ride the crinkle-cut escalator of Nathan’s signature fries, and lemonade washes away any loitering thirst. Nathan’s history can be studied quiz-free on a large mural depicting the store’s original Brooklyn boardwalk setting and the first couple to enter outer space via the Coney Island roller coaster.
As Justin Lussier traveled through Naples in 2005, he decided to stop for the city's famous pizza at a small street-side eatery bearing the sign Pizzeria Sorbillo. He loved his traditional thin-crust pie so much that he rushed to a pay phone and called his friends Christian Bullock and Jason Allard to tell them that he wanted to make that same pizza. When Justin returned to Canada, the trio travelled to confer with the culinary experts at Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana (AVPN) in order to uncover what truly makes a pizza Neapolitan. Two years later, the friends set out to open Famoso.
Famoso's chefs all follow strict guidelines set by the AVPN—they only use OO Caputo flour imported from Naples, and they hand mill tomatoes imported from the foot of Mount Vesuvius, where each crop is grown in soil enriched by volcanic ash and sung to daily by volcanologists. Chefs top the crust with local fior di latte mozzarella, fresh basil leaves, and pecorino romano cheese. They then spread dough into wafer-thin disks, which they blast-fire at 900 degrees for 90 seconds inside imported Italian bell-shaped ovens. Pizzas are also topped with ingredients such as soppressata, oven-roasted Italian sausage, kalamata olives, and truffle oil.
Famoso Baristas can pair many of these pies, some of which are reinvented twice each year, with a mix of local and international wines—including vintages from Italy and Canada—and hand-crafted gelato. At each restaurant, they ferry dishes and drinks through rustic and inviting interiors, each of which reflects the unique style of its neighbourhood, though all are united by accents of exposed brick and wood, wine-bottle art, and sculptural pizza-box displays.
The Yardhouse's dishes have been around the world and back. The menu's range of dishes speaks to the kitchen's penchant for international recipes and punched-up pub cuisine. This global appreciation hasn't uprooted barroom tradition, however—classic chicken wings often steal the menu spotlight, especially on Wednesday, when they are prepared in batches of 100 per order.
Apart from worldliness, The Yardhouse stresses on-site prep, showcasing truffle fries and housemade thai chicken bites. Despite elaborate recipes for pumpkin basil gnocchi and maple dip for yam fries, the dining-room atmosphere is a far cry from the stifled silence and mandatory caviar chugging of gourmet halls. Chatter overlaps with sports broadcasts, the tinkling of cocktail glasses, and the sound of draft beers being poured into pint-sized servings—or, for especially thirsty patrons, the bar's signature yard-long flasks. Bottled craft beers round out the drink list with ciders, ales, lagers, and stouts.