Where to dine after ice time in Hastings County
If there are two things we know in Hastings County in the winter, it’s cold rinks and cozy food and drinks. So when you can pair the two, you’re always getting some of the best of what’s on offer here. Keep reading for a rundown of several of the region’s arenas, curling clubs, and outdoor rinks, and where to grab a drink and a meal nearby.
When it opened in 1975, the Deseronto Arena instantly become a cornerstone of the community. Featuring an 80- by 100-foot ice pad and spectator seating for 500, it’s the perfect spot for watching the Deseronto Bulldogs take on a rival from the Eastern Ontario Super Hockey League.
Warm up in this Hastings-famous tea room in downtown Deseronto. Think lace curtains, linen tablecloths, and fine china. Afternoon tea is an event here, where the teas are turned out on tiered plates alongside finger sandwiches, scones, preserves, whipped cream, and sweets.
The name says it all for this restaurant on the outskirts of Deseronto. The menu, sourced from fresh ingredients from the owners’ gardens and local farmers’ markets, includes pizzas, pastas, sandwiches, and mains like beef bourguignon. Live music goes on every Friday and Saturday night.
Rink: Outdoor Skating Rink
Pair some laps with fresh air at this outdoor rink at the Tyendinaga Recreation Complex, open from 10 am to 9 pm daily. This isn’t your backyard slab of ice, by the way. It was built on top of a horse ring, and it has a roof and boards. Still, it can be busy, so if there are lots of people, limit your use to 30 minutes.
You have a few good spots to fuel up in the area, but for some solid diner options, check out these two. Both are known for great breakfasts, big portions, and good prices. At Deb’s, try the poutine. At Roxanne’s, it’s the Bigsexy Burger all the way.
This is where Tweed comes together in the winter, especially on Friday and Saturday nights. That’s when the town’s top teams hit the ice: the U21 Tweed Hawks of the Eastern Ontario Minor Hockey League and the Tweed Oil Kings, the only community owned team in the Eastern Ontario Super Hockey League.
Drink: By the Way Café
By the Way is a cute main street café with some of the freshest coffees in town. Go for a regular cup of joe or something more, like an Americano, cappuccino, or café mocha. The teas, hot chocolate, and hot apple cider are top-notch too, especially when paired with a cinnamon roll.
For pizza, it’s got to be Vito’s. Around since 1980, the pies here are prepared with fresh dough made daily and homemade sauces, then cooked in stone-deck ovens. For homestyle comfort food, head a few doors down to Gateway for all-day breakfast, soups, salads, sandwiches, pastas, and other entrées.
These two are a stone’s throw away from each other and a short walk or drive from downtown. The arena is home to the Bancroft Rockhounds, one of the Greater Metro Junior ‘A’ Hockey League’s most recent additions. At the four-sheet curling club, look for bonspiels all winter long.
Head to the Bancroft Brew Pub for about a dozen craft beers on tap made right next door at Bancroft Brewing Co. For hot drinks, go for either The Muse, a charming, art-filled café with higher end coffees, or Café BC, an unassuming restaurant with down-to-earth bevvies and a big food menu (try the twisters).
Pizzamore doesn’t lie — you’ll be loving these classic small-town pies with their thick, doughy crusts and generous toppings. At The Granite, expect a more upscale yet still relaxed atmosphere paired with an eclectic menu of everything from steaks to fish to pastas to vegetarian options.
Rink: Dungannon Recreation Centre
Although L’Amable’s Dungannon Recreation Centre is best known as the headquarters for the Rally of the Tall Pines, it also has an outdoor skating rink in the winter. Bancroft’s North Hastings Community Centre has public skating, but head here for a lot more fresh air with your laps.
Drink and Dine: Pine Star Restaurant / The Curry House
If you need a classic roadside diner, tuck into Pine Star Restaurant, which is just a few clicks north of L’Amable. The breakfast is always good, as are the burgers. Over on Highway 28, check out The Curry House for mouthwatering meat and veg curries alongside fresh naan breads and biryani rice dishes.
In the summer, it’s the home of a popular flea market, but in the winter the Coe Hill Recreation Pavilion turns into a popular outdoor rink. With a roof and boards, it’s the perfect place to lace ‘em up even when the weather is a little messy.
Drink: Coe Hill Collective
The Coe Hill Collective is a collection of local artisans known for making everything from beauty products to toys to paintings. But you can also find some delicious hot drinks here. Try the s’mores creamy hot chocolate and thank us later.
Dine: Wollaston Gourmet Pizza
After a day on the rink pizza lovers can head just down the road to Wollaston Gourmet Pizza for some of the thickest and most delicious pies around.
This is a classic small-town arena found just north of Highway 7. It can be cold out on the ice, but that just means the ice is really good. And if you do get a little chilly, head upstairs to the big viewing area to warm up.
Wings & Strings is the newest restaurant in the area, but it’s already getting rave reviews for its juicy jumbo wings, great service, and good live music. Next door is Theo’s Pizzeria, a town favourite for its doughy pizzas and fresh and generous toppings.
Home to the Centre Hastings Grizzlies, the Madoc arena is another timeless small-town barn. It has big dressing rooms and lots of seating — perfect for public skating on Saturday and Sunday afternoons in the winter.
Not so hidden anymore, the Hidden Goldmine Bakery is one of the most loved cafés and bakeries in Hastings. The coffees and teas are fantastic, but you have to pair them with a butter tart (or six). For beers, head over to 7/62 for straightforward craft brews in a clean, modern taproom with big windows.
Dine: Burnside’s Casual Dining
Skip the fast food and head just north of 7/62 Craft Brewers to this family-friendly restaurant with wood paneling and a cozy cottage feel. Burnside’s is known for its potato wedges, fried chicken, and chicken sandwich, but the menu is wide-ranging. Just remember to save room for the Kawartha ice cream.
The Stirling arena had its biggest moment back in 2012 when it won Kraft Hockeyville and $100,000 for arena upgrades like a better air-filtration system, bigger dressing rooms, and recycled rubber flooring. The four-sheet curling club is another hub, boasting upstairs and downstairs viewing areas, a lounge, and popular bonspiels throughout the year, including the Men’s Skins Spiel in March with a purse of $15,000.
Café 23 is a straightforward café in the heart of Stirling with regular and specialty coffees, alcohol, and other drinks. Curl up on the sofa and stick around for open mics. A kilometre west is cozy craft brewery Longtooth, which specializes in accessible Western European beers like its staples, pale ale, and lager.
Dine: Jimmy’s Special Pizza and Fish and Chips
Jimmy’s, just a few doors down from Café 23, is an institution in Stirling. It’s known for great customer service, small-town charm, and the food in the name, but it also has great burgers, wings, and subs. If it’s your first visit, go for Jim’s Special Pizza: pepperoni, mushrooms, onions, bacon, green peppers, salami, and olives.