So winter has finally arrived to our little Hamlet, seemingly missing its cue throughout the past few months. But despite the balmy temperatures, this fall, and indeed the season we just 'weathered', took its toll on more than a few "culinary destinations" here in Stratford.
Read on for a brief synopsis of the changes coming to our fair restaurants, some have already seen their demise but perhaps will be born again with new life.
Disclaimer: not all of the following information is based on fact, quite frankly it's pretty much based on nothing at all, other than the word of mouth from our fair citizens. It is peppered with a little research, but, reader discretion is advised!
1. Ellam's may finally close its doors after what anyone would have to fairly call a good run. Health and fire safety restrictions have already removed part of the shanty at the back of the building, expect more demo. On the brighter side of things, we look forward to watching the transformation into Canada's first cockroach museum.
2. Duelling Thai; Stratford can't seem to embrace having just one of any kind of ethnic food downtown, we like to double down. Two Thai restaurants will be opening this year a mere footed jaunt from one another, perhaps it was planned this way to allow for the rumoured sumo wrestling events between owners that will take place bi-weekly in Market Square. Inflatable Sumo suits provided generously by the Party Supply Store.
3. Erie St. Kitchen; that's right, everyones favourite little sandwich shop tucked away on York st. will be giving up its name and possibly its popularity to venture across Ontario st. to a new address. Alpha Beet, Veg Out and Menrui were all so successful I can understand why someone would want such a prime location.
4. The Church Restaurant, a name synonymous with dining in Stratford, may not open this year at all. After 30 odd years as a restaurant they're going back to their roots. Word is that Tom Cruise and John Travolta will be launching the new Canadian headquarters for the Church Of Scientology at the corner of Waterloo & Brunswick. This is what caused them to finally tear down the old eyesore next door. Only the best of everything for the thetan cosmic life force.
5. Fear not, lovers of fish and chips done simply, Shawn's little venture may rise from the ashes as a gourmet wedding cake shop, seafoam green is this seasons colour afterall. Details to follow...
6. A personal favourite of mine will be seeing some changes this year as well, Pazzo, both ristorante and pizzeria are on the hunt for new Chefs. Perhaps Jeff and Larry can take over their respective kitchens to see the world through chef whites, they certainly have the fortitude for the job.
7. Taj Mah-Fall; unable to compete with its Indian focussed counterpart around the corner, Taj will be embracing its size this year and opening Stratford's first curry themed bowling alley. Bahji will remain available as bar snacks for hungry bowlers.
8. Tango has closed and is rumoured to re-open as Cha-Cha's: an all male dance club reminiscent of Chippendales. Hoping breakfast will still be served, only now with extra sausage.
10. Big D's Demise; as forseen difficulties are associated with the location at 104-108 Downie st. it's really not a big surprise that this awkward space has defeated yet another restaurant. Starbucks is eyeing the location.
If you have any additional rumours, or can lend truth or falsehood to these, please join the conversation below...