Saturday, 3 August 2013

We Love The Moose!

I remember when Moose Winooski's was the new thing on Bayfield St. That must have been in the mid 1990s, because my eldest son, now 23 years old, celebrated his ninth birth there. It was also one of the few sit down restaurants we dared go to. With a gaggle of 5 kids, we usually chose take out or fast food, so we could make a quick exit when the troops got rowdy, but Moose Winooski's has a nice little corner play area complete with toys and tv. They also use paper table cloths for families, complete with lots of crayons, so the little scribblers can get their art on.

It's probably been a few years since I was in for a meal, even though Moose Winooski's is more or less down the street from me. My kids are mostly grown up, and relatively civilized now. In fact, my youngest son recently did a co-op term as a host there and my middle son has worked in the dish room for the past 2 years. His ball hockey team, the Sky Pirates (don't ask), is mainly comprised of Moose employees and the management is very good at making work schedules that work around the games. As you can see, it's a real neighbourhood business.

Yesterday, we had the great honour of hosting a young Japanese exchange student for the day and were looking for fun things to do in the Barrie area. Taka is from Murayama, Japan, a sister city to Barrie. It's the same city that my daughter had the good fortune to visit last summer on her trip with the Barrie Youth Ambassadors. We started out at the Shanty Bay Go Karts and Mini Putt, followed by the Georgian Mall and then some down time with video games. We decided to top off our day with dinner at a virtual Canadiana hall of fame, Moose Winooski's

We had an absolutely delightful server named Lindy. She was just great, and very patient. I'm sure she had to come back three times to see if we were ready to order. Between indecisiveness, a minor language barrier and being very chatty, we took quite a while! We started with a warm artichoke dip and a platter of nachos and a round of assorted pop. Lindy brought jugs of pop after a while, so it seems the refills are free. Nice!

Appetizers were quickly attacked by the young people and our main entrees weren't long in arriving. Between the 7 of us, we had 2 orders of quesadillas, fish and chips, a Mediterranean wrap,  baked penne pasta, a turkey club sandwich and a chipotle chicken sandwich. We had some special requests - no tomatoes on the chicken sandwich due to allergies, a bread substitution on the turkey club and extra gravy for one of the french fries. All of those were attended to perfectly.

My fish and chips were really good. Seafood is the only meat I eat now, as I mostly follow a vegetarian diet. I order fish and chips quite often when dining out, and I am frequently underwhelmed by my meal. I wasn't expecting a restaurant that is known for it's ribs and wings to make a good fish and chips, but I was pleasantly surprised. The fish portion was large, soft, flavourful and perfectly golden.

It's no wonder that Moose Winooski's has been around a while now, when so many others have tried and failed to keep an eatery afloat. The Moose, as the regulars and employees call it, is the perfect package - fun atmosphere, family friendly, awesome food, superb service, community oriented, ideal for watching sports and being a shrine of all things Canadian, a destination in itself for foreign visitors.

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