Located in the heart of Thornbury with beautiful views of the Mill Pond that is a part of the Beaver River, the Mill Cafe has been a staple in the Thornbury community for many years. This lovely spot is a family owned business currently owned and operated by Sylvia Gardulski and her husband Andrew Barber, who is well known for his amazing chef abilities in the community. This restaurant has a unique ambience, combining casualty with a touch of fine dining, creating an elegant and relaxing experience that welcomes all people. As this is such a tight knit community, many groups or individuals coming to dine in this cafe will often run into friends or family, turning a potentially quick stop into a happy reunion for all. The wonderful views of the mill pond itself make it easy to get lost in the beauty of the area, while enjoying a variety of delicious options from the menu.
The menu was created to accommodate all types of dietary preferences, including vegan, gluten free, vegetarian, dairy free and others. Some of the most popular dishes include their angus beef burger, fresh seafood, hand cut fries, steak and feta salad, fish tacos and many other exceptional options. There is oftentimes minor changes of the menu throughout the seasons in order to create variety and proper use of the local products to maintain the highest level of quality and freshness. The slogan for the Mill Cafe remains as being “Fresh, Local and Inspired”. Another fun fact about this restaurant is most things are made fresh in house from scratch, including the dressings, desserts, pasta noodles, sauces and other food items.
The price is set to appeal to everybody in the area and attract all varieties of individuals, with different specials offered on a consistent basis. The current specials that are available include; Wine Wednesdays with 2-dollar corkage, Champagne Thursdays at 5 dollars a glass, 1-dollar off a pint of Steam Whistle beer, and 5-dollar Caesars Sundays. The restaurant also offers a daily Happy Hour menu that runs from 3 to 5 PM that gives access to a variety of delicious discounted drinks and appetizers alike.
The Chef and Co Owner behind the operations: Andrew Barber
Andrew has always had a passion within the food and beverage industry, being a server from his young adult age and developing an interest and love for food and the way it is made. Over the years, he continued to build his skills while learning the ins and outs of a quality dining experience. Andrew attended the renowned Stratford Chef school in order to further his education and build his expertise in this field. The transition to running his own restaurant was an easy decision, as he has spent majority of his life preparing for a career that involved his knowledge of food and people within the industry. Using his education, prior experience and passion for food, he created a business with his wife Sylvia that has made its mark on the Thornbury community. Prior to taking over full proprietorship of the Mill Cafe in Thornbury, Andrew and his wife opened Simplicity Bistro in 2011 for three years, learning the ropes of running a restaurant efficiently. In 2015, they decided to sell their shares for a greater cause to open Andrews Roots in Meaford and officially take over the Mill, making their dreams come to life at the ideal location.
The history of this restaurant is very special, as it dates back to the 1850s as the first commercial operation in Thornbury.Before it served its purpose in the food and beverage industry, the building was used as a sawmill along the Beaver River, which also held methodist services before the local church was built in the community. Both the original building and the replacement were ruined in a tragic fire, which had a negative impact on the locals at the time of the disaster. In the late 1800s, the building was recomposed to function as a grain mill for flour and oatmeal. Since that time period, it has had various rebuilds and last was used as an operating mill in the 1960s for Alfalfa. A number of restaurants have been run out of that location since, with people living in apartments above. It currently functions as a hydro dam that provides sustainable electricity to approximately 1500 local houses in the area.