Friday January 5, 2024

Dine & Drink Through Windsor-Essex

Original blog by Carrie Steinweg

On our visit to Windsor-Essex, I quickly learned how magnificent and varied the food scene is there. From causal bites to scenic patio dining to upscale experiences and with so many ethnic cuisines represented, there are countless spots to linger leisurely with those you love and create great memories.

Here are some places I loved and would definitely recommend:

Mettawas Station Italian Mediterranean Grill


Located in an 1880’s train station this upscale Italian Mediterranean Grill is a quaint spot with a fantastic history where you can sit back and sip a nice glass of wine with starters like escargot, half shell clams, calamari rings or Sicilian-style arancini. We had calamari, which was delicious, by the way. It was my first time trying a new fish – pickerel – in a combination Lake Erie Perch and Pickerel platter with a caper dill aioli. We were celebrating a birthday the night we were there and our friendly waiter brought a scrumptious rolled ice cream treat to celebrate, which was extremely nice.

Grand Cantina


We made our way here just a week after opening. Everything was running smoothly and our al fresco dining was an enjoyable experience that was full of flavor. We sampled several appetizers and favorites were the Chorizo Meat Balls, Shrimp Aguachile and Street Corn Fritters. You can’t go wrong with tacos – my favorite was the coconut shrimp. The colorful cocktails were presented nicely and taste as good as they looked. Nice location, lively atmosphere and great vibes!

Cured Craft Brewing Co.


After a morning at Point Peele National Park, this was an ideal place to kick back and try a flight. We enjoyed a delicious starter of bruschetta followed by an amazing pizza pie – the Provolone Mushroom Medley that included roasted garlic, herb-infused oil, mozzarella and provolone, an assortment of mushrooms and a drizzle of hot honey. (They also offer a gluten-free crust option). We paired it with a couple flights of their brews. Favorites were the 42nd Parallel Lager, Pelee Pilsner and S.O.S. Oatmeal Stout. We also tried out the Prime Rib Ciabatta, which was so tender and full of flavor. It’s sourced from Brad’s Butcher Block, which is right across the street. It’s shaved, slow roasted and soaked in S.O.S. Stout.

Ure’s Country Kitchen


While we didn’t have a meal at Ure’s Country Kitchen and Mini Golf, we did swing by for a treat following our afternoon at the Harrow Fair. The kitchen menu does have a sizable menu of breakfast entrees and sandwiches and looks like it’s definitely worthy of a revisit. The photos will make you drool. The ice cream parlor beside the restaurant serves up sundaes, floats, shakes, pies and more. We opted for ice cream on fresh waffle cones. The smell of them was divine. They also have scores of candies up and down the aisles – one of the best candy selections you’ll find with all the classic treats and of course some of those delicious chocolate bars you can’t get in the states.

Wolfhead Distillery


One of my favorite meals that we had on our visit to the area was brunch at Wolfhead Distillery. They served up all the breakfast classics and in great form. It greatly exceeded what I expected to get as an early morning meal at a distillery. It rivaled many places I have been that specialize just in breakfast dishes. Pancakes, French toast, omelets, breakfast sandwiches and Eggs Benedict were among the options. You could choose home fries or hash browns (tried both – and yummo!) I was curious when I saw something called peameal on the menu and googled it to find that it is what us Americans refer to as “Canadian Bacon.” I had to give it a try and it was way better than any meat I’ve had in the U.S. called Canadian bacon. The omelet I had was also quite tasty. And even though we were there early in the day, we couldn’t leave without trying some of the spirts. We did the craft spirit flight of all nine of their spirits and then had the visit the store to get some to take home. If you do just one brunch while in Windsor-Essex, make it at Wolfhead.

Polish Beach Club


I love Polish food and so I just had to fit this into our trip. This fun beachside spot is super casual. You can hang by the water and sip with the sand in your toes. It’s a no-frills spot where we sat on plastic chairs in a dining room with garage doors open toward the water after heading up to the counter to place our order, but it created a fun, laid-back atmosphere. The food was deliciously authentic.

There were a number of plates where you could try a combination different eastern European favorites. The kielbasa, Polish sausage and kraut, cabbage roll and pierogi hit the spot and made me want to polka. I’d love to return on a night when live music plays and polka for real after such a delightful plate and pilsner.

The Beerded Dog Brewing Company


We popped into The Beerded Dog Brewing Company on our way to check out the Harrow Fair, which was such a fun time. The burgers and chicken sandwiches we sampled were top notch. How can you resist menu items with names like “The Samuel L. Jackson Burger” and the “John Travolta Chicken Sandwich”? We also had to try out the poutine (how can you visit Canada and not have some) – and it gets a thumbs up. There was a varied beer list and we tried a couple flights. There was a dozen on tap, so something for everyone. They also get points for the adorable flight boards shaped like a dog’s paw.

Banded Goose Brewing Company


Our stop at Banded Goose was made on our return from dinner, so we planned on having just drinks and enjoyed everything in our flight, from the Jack’s Golden Ale to the Watermelon Ale to the Sex Panther Sweet Nitro Porter. A food truck parked out back had a handful of options and I did end up getting an order of doughnut holes with a sweet, thick dipping sauce as a dessert. They provided a perfect sweet taste to end the evening. Loved the old pub feel and the live music, too.

We also visited several wineries on our trip, some of them on an e-bike tour and I highly recommend working at least a couple into your itinerary, perhaps Pelee Island Winery, Cooper’s Hawk Vineyards or Oxley Estate Winery. We also really enjoyed our time at Paglione Estate Winery, where we hung in the garden sipping our tastes of wine and nibbling on our charcuterie board. It would be a crime to be right in the heart of EPIC wine country and miss out on exploring it.

And being an American visitor, I had to do a little grocery shopping to pick up some of the items we can’t get at home, so we made our way through the aisles at Zehrs and loaded up on snacks and staples – chocolates we can’t get at home, maple syrup, chips and more.


Original Blog Post by Carrie Steinweg. Carrie is a freelance writer, photographer, author and blogger in Northwest Indiana. She writes a travel column for the Northwest Indiana Times and shares her food adventures on the blog Chicago Foodie Sisters. You can follow @chicagofoodiesisters on Instagram, TikTok and Facebook.


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