Foodie Finds: Mercer Hall, Stratford, Ontario

Dr. Jessie Voigts's picture

Foodie Finds: Mercer Hall, Stratford, Ontario

Nestled along Ontario Street, in Downtown Stratford, Ontario, is an unassuming slate-colored building called Mercer Hall. If you're interested in eating well (and who isn't?), I highly recommend you head inside for a meal. You'll be surprised at the quality of the food here - I didn't expect Stratford (a theatre town) to be a foodie town, but it is. Oh, how it is.​ Did you know Mercer Hall is also a boutique hotel! It's a lovely place to stay - click here for best rates and availability.

Foodie Finds: Mercer Hall, Stratford, Ontario

Foodie Finds: Mercer Hall, Stratford, Ontario

And look at the handicap ramp for me! Many businesses in Stratford have these portable ramps - thank you!

We welcomed fall with hot tea - each of us chose a different tea from the tea menu, assisted by our friend Cathy of Visit Stratford - she knows her tea! Did you know that Canada's first tea sommelier, Karen Hartwick, is located in Stratford? She teaches all around the world, and also has a tea shop, called Tea Leaves, in Stratford (story to come!). I got the Local Ontario Herbal tea, and it was excellent - so much so that this non-tea drinker headed to her shop and bought some to bring home!

Foodie Finds: Mercer Hall, Stratford, Ontario - the Tea Menu!

Foodie Finds: Mercer Hall, Stratford, Ontario - the Tea Menu!

Local Ontario Herbal tea, from Tea Leaves, served at Mercer Hall, Stratford, Ontario

Local Ontario Herbal tea from Tea Leaves, at Mercer Hall

Let's dig in to what we ate for lunch that day - you'll understand what I mean!

Foodie Finds: Mercer Hall, Stratford, Ontario

Oh, the choices...

Perth County Pork Ramen, house made noodles, smoked trout, maple syrup and miso. Foodie Finds: Mercer Hall, Stratford, Ontario

Perth County Pork Ramen, house made noodles, smoked trout, maple syrup and miso

Buttermilk fried quarter chicken, buttered biscuits, potato salad. Foodie Finds: Mercer Hall, Stratford, Ontario

Buttermilk fried quarter chicken, buttered biscuits, potato salad on the side

House smoked beef dip sandwich, seasonal slaw, fries & jus. Foodie Finds: Mercer Hall, Stratford, Ontario

House smoked beef dip sandwich, seasonal slaw, fries & jus

The meal was outstanding - truly, some of the most clean and fresh tasting food I've had in a long time. Then we went back into the kitchen with Chef Ryan O'Donnell - and saw some of the ingredients he was working with, including freshly baked bread, wild rice crackers, and gorgeous, colorful vegetables straight from local growers. He's an artist, with a full palette of organic, local food to create with. Take a look at what was in the kitchen that day...

Fresh bread. Foodie Finds: Mercer Hall, Stratford, Ontario

Fresh bread (yes, please!)

Just-picked butternut squash.Foodie Finds: Mercer Hall, Stratford, Ontario

Just-picked butternut squash

Romanesco Broccoli.Foodie Finds: Mercer Hall, Stratford, Ontario

Fractal Romanesco broccoli

Wild rice crackers. Foodie Finds: Mercer Hall, Stratford, Ontario

Wild rice crackers

Two colors of tomatillos! Foodie Finds: Mercer Hall, Stratford, Ontario

Two colors of tomatillos!

Beautiful carrots. Foodie Finds: Mercer Hall, Stratford, Ontario

Beautiful carrots

After a lovely meal, we sat down with Chef O'Donnell to chat (thank you!). He's also a graduate of and instructor at the Stratford Chef School, and is clearly passionate about great, seasonal food, eating local, and teaching new chefs.

 

 

We'll share Chef O'Donnell's work with the Stratford Chef School in another article, but I was so impressed with his vision and work - he's the epitome of a chef that cares about locally grown, sustainable food sources, while being a great mentor and boss, AND bringing his creativity to the table. 

Chef Ryan O'Donnell, Mercer Hall. Foodie Finds: Mercer Hall, Stratford, Ontario

Chef O'Donnell and some bendy kale

 

 

Learn more: 

Mercer Hall Inn, Restaurant, Bar

http://www.mercerhall.ca/

 

 

All photos and video courtesy and copyright Wandering Educators. Originally published October, 2015 & updated September 2017

 

 

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