In York Durham Headwaters, we have many historic towns and villages that are thrilled for you to spend a day enjoying their local shops and restaurants. But don’t be mistaken—just because you’re dining in a small, historic town doesn’t mean you’re going to get a small and antiquated eatery. Historic Unionville in York Region, which was settled in 1794, offers a picturesque village setting in which thrives a vibrant and cosmopolitan restaurant scene. Come shop for the day on Main Street Unionville, and stay for dinner at one of our unique eateries. Here are just three of the exciting establishments to choose from.
198 Main Street, www.oldcountryinn.ca, (905) 477-2715
Steps from the Varley Art Gallery and located in a 140-year-old house is the Old Country Inn. The restaurant’s Austrian fare has been a well-loved part of Unionville since 1978. Seventeen years ago, George Iliopoulos and his wife Debbie purchased the restaurant, and have been proudly serving the same time-tested recipes ever since.
“We just celebrated our fortieth anniversary,” Debbie says. “It was a big hit. The mayor was here and everything.”
Patrons of Old Country Inn can expect to enjoy a rustic dining environment, and a menu of authentic Viennese cuisine. Classic favourites include Würste (sausages), Schnitzel (breaded cutlets) and Sauerbraten (marinated roast beef).
Interestingly, the menu is still largely the same as it was when George and Debbie purchased Old Country Inn. “I think our success stems from the fact that we haven’t changed our menu,” Debbie says. “We’ve added items to appeal to a broader demographic, but the recipes are still the same.”
Main Street Unionville is the perfect setting for a place like Old Country Inn. Like the restaurant itself, it is a destination where tradition lives alongside contemporary tastes. George and Debbie have loved being a part of it all. “The town of Unionville is a really tight-knit community,” Debbie says. “I find that the retail shops compliment the restaurants, and the restaurants compliment the retail shops. The street seems to work well like that.”
149 Main Street, www.ambiyan.com, (905) 480-0094
With our region being so wonderfully multicultural, Indian has become firmly entrenched as one of the most popular types of cuisine amongst diners today. Ambiyan has been offering traditional Indian fare to Unionville for the past ten years. In fact, it is the most positively reviewed Main Street Unionville establishment on TripAdvisor. (It’s true. We fact-checked this one!)
For lovers of Indian cuisine, all of your favourites can be found at Ambiyan. Masala, curries, vindaloo and other exceptional dishes are on the menu. Of course, butter chicken is the restaurant’s most popular dish, as it is arguably the most well-known. “We have heard from people who have travelled the world,” says manager Paul Sandhu. “They’ve told us they haven’t had better anywhere—even in India. We’re quite proud of that.”
There are vegetarian and vegan dishes on the menu as well, and for those may prefer something other than Indian, there are western options available. “We are primarily an Indian food restaurant,” Paul says, “but we do have traditional pub offerings. That and our large vegetarian and vegan selections are a great attraction for people these days.”
For Paul and his staff at Ambiyan, being a part of the Main Street Unionville culture is a wonderful experience. “Unionville is a unique place,” he says. “There’s nothing really like it outside of the downtown core. It’s a destination. In the summertime we have live music playing, and we’re right across from the bandstand, so there are a lot of activities going on. There are festivals, things to do for the kids, lots of dining options—it’s a very vibrant place.”
166 Main Street, www.blacksmithsbistro.com, (905) 305-0503
Bringing a Mediterranean flare to Unionville with a signature fresh-from-scratch approach is Blacksmiths Bistro. The restaurant has been a part of the community since 1995, and the patio nestled between the bistro and a frame house in the back is the original site where blacksmiths once nailed shoes to horses’ hooves.
At Blacksmiths, all food is made-to-order. This is something which manager Parveen Jhingan, who has studied hospitality and worked in restaurants throughout Europe, takes great pride in. “We have fresh seafood, great steaks, delicious pasta, house-made pizza and fresh salads,” he says. “We have a private dining room as well, and do small weddings, gatherings and parties year-round. We are famous for good food and professional service.”
Being a part of Main Street Unionville is a source of pride for Parveen, who is himself a resident of Unionville and has been for the last thirty-seven years. “This is my community,” he states. “I feel a part of it in every possible way.”
Have we whet your appetite yet? Have you been to any of the fantastic restaurants on Main Street Unionville? Remember: patio season is just around the corner, and there’s always something delicious cooking on the historic Unionville strip!
Story by Katherine Ryalen