by Andrew Coppolino
Part of Cambridge, Ontario, the town of Hespeler is building an identity as a unique and cohesive food destination. Located in the northeast quadrant of Cambridge and north of Highway 401, the central downtown of Hespeler nestles against the Speed River and Hespeler Mill Pond.
A prominent centre for woolens and textiles in the mid-1800s, the town had an original Carnegie library. Renovations and expansion saw that original architecture included in a design of glass that enclosed the original structure.
As for food, the few blocks of Queen Street offer a wide range of eating options. You can walk the entire area in about 10 minutes – it makes for good little food crawl.
Starting on the south side, you could hit up KFC, if you’d like. Next up on your stroll, you will see the O & V Tasting Room for a wide range of olive oils and vinegars, bread from Polestar Hearth, local cheeses and other artisanal food products.
At the corner of Queen and Adams Street resides Crème Café . Sandwiches (including breakfast sandwiches) and wraps are on the menu – as are butter tarts from Dee’s Bakery, a Cambridge favourite. A few paces along is Indulge Ice Cream for waffle cone ice cream. Next door The Village Eatery has a “Burger Board” of eight home-made burger selections and about a half-dozen poutines.
Continuing west brings you to The Village Well, a traditional pub with exposed beam-and-limestone construction that captures the original era of the town. Coming to the corner of the block, you’ll find The Aging Oak for shareable and tapas-inspired dishes and a curated collection of whiskies and wines. At the back of building is Papou’s Place for ice cream and “the best traditional subs in Cambridge” – at least that’s what they say.
On the northwest corner of Queen and Guelph Avenue is the venerable establishment that is Ernie’s Roadhouse. It’s a great place for casual pub fare like fish and chips and a pint of local craft beer in an historic building where you can watch the game.