9 restaurants worth the stop on your cottage commute

Nothing’s worse than driving up to the cottage and suddenly hearing your stomach rumble. It’s Friday evening, the cottage isn’t too much farther, but traffic is heavy so who knows how long it’ll take to get there. Luckily for you, we’ve compiled a list of 9 places to stop for food while driving up to cottage country. These are the best places along highways 400 and 11 to stop, and none of them are that far off the beaten path. Even though you’re eager to get your weekend started, check out these great food spots—we promise you won’t be disappointed! 

(P.S. We know that not all Ontarians have cottages off of highways 400 and 11,that’s why we’re compiling more lists as we speak. Stay tuned for your commute—coming soon!)

Food Map

1. The Parlour in Thornton

Where: On Highway 27, five minutes from Highway 400 at Innisfil Beach Road 

The Parlour is an iconic ice cream shop in Thornton, Ont., just south of Barrie. It is located in an old house with a neon green and hot pink exterior, so it’s hard to miss from the road. The town itself is a picture postcard of small-town Ontario, and a quick and easy stop right off the highway.

With a wide variety of both soft-serve and hard ice cream flavours, The Parlour also has more substantial bites if you want to have dinner before a scoop or two. Right next door is The Fry’s The Limit food truck, where you can grab poutine, hot dogs, chicken tenders, sausages, and more, all for very reasonable prices. Reviewers say the poutine is even better than some they’ve had in Quebec—that’s a HUGE compliment! 

2. Cottage Canoe in Barrie 

Where: Dunlop Street & Ferndale Drive, two minutes from Highway 400 at Dunlop Street 

Conveniently located right off Highway 400 and near two gas stations, why not grab a bite to eat after stopping to stretch your legs and fill up the car? What makes this place special compared to the myriad of other restaurants in Barrie is its inviting, cottagecore decor. A chandelier made of fake antlers hangs down from the ceiling, and the wooden walls hold nature paintings, canoe oars, and cross-country skis. They serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner seven days a week, with lots of vegan and gluten-free options. According to reviews, this is the place to be for weekend brunch.

3. Northway Restaurant and Truck Stop in Oro Medonte   

Where: Highway 11 & Oro Medonte Line 5, northbound side 

After Highway 400 splits north of Barrie, you’ll enter the vast township of Oro Medonte, which has many quirky shops and mom-and-pop restaurants along Highway 11. If you only have time for a quick stop, make it at Northway Restaurant, a popular restaurant for truckers and cottagers alike. The location and menu are unassuming, but the portions are big, the service is friendly, and the price is right. We hear the fish and chips is a must-try, but if you’re not big on seafood, the Greek chicken souvlaki is a classic. 

4. Burger Pit in Oro Medonte  

Where: Highway 11 & Oro Medonte Line 10, northbound side 

Burger Pit reopened in the summer of 2020 under new management, who strive to make it a fun and family-friendly environment while still delivering the home-cooked flavour established by previous owners. Rumoured to rival Webers, Burger Pit has a wide selection of charbroiled burgers, poutine, and ice cream. They even offer chicken burgers, souvlaki, and steak (which is more than Webers can say). If you’re feeling like changing it up but still want a mouth-watering hamburger, give this place a try. 

5. Apple Annie’s in Orillia 

Where: Peter Street & Mississaga Street in Orillia, ten minutes from Highway 11 at Highway 12 

Apple Annie’s opened under new management in February 2023, changing hands from one pair of twin sisters to another. But quality has been consistent even with ownership changes, and it is still known as having some of the best coffee and fudge in Orillia. Special shout-out to their great variety of ice cream and gelato, where they have unique flavours like lemon ricotta rosemary and Madagascar vanilla. Orillia is a lovely town worth exploring, but Apple Annie’s is the cherry on top. Don’t plan on stopping on your return trip from a weekend at the cottage, though—they’re closed on Sundays. 

6. Mariposa Market in Orillia 

Where: On Mississaga Street in Orillia, ten minutes from Highway 11, close to Apple Annie’s 

If you’re already in the Orillia area at Apple Annie’s, you can’t not make a stop at Mariposa Market—especially because they’re right next to each other! The market prides itself on some of the best donuts, cinnamon rolls, and Chelsea buns in Ontario. Considering one of their talented bakers won the Food Network’s Donut Showdown, their baked goods must be worth the hype. The market itself is composed of a few different shops that sell coffee, groceries, gift baskets, and more.

7. Webers in Orillia 

Where: Highway 11 south of Cumberland Beach, entry from both northbound and southbound sides

Love it or hate it, Webers had to make the list! Since 1963, Webers has been the place to stop for food along Highway 11. Their burgers are practically synonymous with cottage country and are sold in grocery stores across Canada. They are the first and only business in Ontario to own a pedestrian bridge over a major highway, which conveniently allows southbound drivers to stop in as well. Webers is known for their burgers and fries, as well as their CN railway car aesthetics, but their milkshakes are pretty good too. 

Want more burgers? Check out our must-haves in cottage country here.

8. Bedrock Cafe in Washago 

Where: Highway 11 north of Cumberland Beach, northbound side  

We’ve talked a lot about burgers, but what about pizza? Hot and cheesy pizza is sometimes looked over in cottage country, but Bedrock Cafe represents some of its finest. The pizza always has a crispy crust and a perfect dough-to-sauce ratio, according to reviews. Fan favourites include the classic Canadian and the Bedrock special, a savoury pie with pepperoni, ground beef, bacon, mushrooms, onions, and olives. They are also located next to The Orchard Fruit Market, so you can browse delicious local produce and beautiful flowers while your pizza’s in the oven. 

Check out more pizza options in cottage country here.

9. The Old Station Restaurant in Bracebridge 

Where: On Manitoba Street in downtown Bracebridge, 5 minutes from Highway 11 at Cedar Lane 

You’ve now arrived in Muskoka—rejoice! Bracebridge is a premier destination in cottage country, and the town itself is worth seeing. The beautiful main street is lined with small businesses where you can buy everything from homemade butter tarts to cottagecore fashion, and the Bracebridge Falls in the centre of town is a must-see attraction.

For food in Bracebridge, The Old Station Restaurant combines upscale comfort food with a rustic setting. The building was once a gas station, and much of its exterior facade and interior brick walls are original. But the food definitely isn’t gas station quality—they are known for their delicious pasta, fish, burgers, and craft beer. Our personal favourite is the oven-roasted pepper squash, an amazing vegetarian option. They also have a beautiful patio overlooking Bracebridge’s historic downtown.

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