A Driving Loop of Five Culinary Picks in Alberta’s Lakeland

A Driving Loop of Five Culinary Picks in Alberta’s Lakeland

Food trip! Alberta’s Lakeland, east of Edmonton, has places to eat in out of the norm venues. Take a drive and fuel up with delicious—often cultural—fare in these five eateries that you can visit in a big loop. From Edmonton, the “loop” is in the shape of a T-bone steak. How appropriate.

Check out the sites in these friendly rural communities. Or, focus only on the food—ordering it, Instagramming it, and tasting it—to fuel up with scrumptious local fare.

  • The Gathering Place Co-op, Waskatenau, Alberta
  • Black Cat’s Cauldron Tea & Herb House, Vilna, Alberta
  • CJ’s Café, Myrnam, Alberta
  • The Old School Cheesery, Vermilion, Alberta
  • Stawnichy’s Mundare Sausage, Mundare, Alberta

The Gathering Place Co-op, Waskatenau, Alberta

Why Go? Ukrainian Plate!

This renovated building north of Waskatenau on Hwy 831 includes a cozy country restaurant serving a massive Ukrainian Plate. Believe this! The plate comes with 10 perogies fried with butter, onions & bacon lardons, as well as garlic sausage, sour cabbage rolls and a garnish of sour cream & green onions. The menu has all kinds of appetizers, and main dishes, such as Schnitzel and Cottage Pie. There are take home and reheat options too, all made from local ingredients.

How to start the day!

Black Cat’s Cauldron Tea & Herb House, Vilna, Alberta

Why Go? Know Your Future

Next up—Vilna.

Stop in at this eclectic heritage shop built in 1935 and enjoy a perfect brew of organic tea or coffee, browse books, peruse herbs, crystals and other metaphysical supplies and—why not?—have a tarot or oracle card reading. Soup, scones and buns are fresh.

After you’ve learned your future, head to Alberta’s oldest operating Pool Hall & Barbershop located along the Historic Main Street. Drive by this almost 100 year old building or, better yet, go inside. Blood stains are gone from the walls—a legacy of the brawling men who visited decades earlier—but take in the old Brunswick Balke Collender snooker tables or Samuel May billiard tables, and oiled wood floors (open Wed., Fri., & Sat.).

Old School Cheesery, Vermilion

Why Go? Cheese, please

The Old School Cheesery is a small family run cheesery, whose products are used by chefs at Café Bicyclette in Edmonton, Jennie’s Diner in Bonnyville and Twisted Fork in St. Paul. But, lucky for you, the Cheesery has an in-house restaurant and boutique in Vermilion. Buy or taste excellent artisan made cheese including fresh cheese curds. Everything you see in the boutique is locally made and can be tasted when purchasing charcuterie boards or from the continuously changing cheesy menu prepared for you by their chef.

CJ’s Café, Myrnam, AB

Why Go? Blast from the past

Going south, head to Myrnam to pick up a six pack of cinnamon buns, made fresh daily. Driving through Myrnam is like driving through a movie set from the 1930s. Prices from the 30s too – where else can you get a meal for $9.95? Besides homemade sandwiches, burgers and more, you’ll find some of the best Ukrainian cooking in the land here.

Stawnichy’s Mundare Sausage

Why Go? Sausage!

To complete the loop, stop in Mundare. If the giant swinging sausage doesn’t give it away, this town is known for its sausage, made famous by Stawnichy’s, who now also have an outlet in Edmonton. Stop in to pick up some of Western Canada’s best sausage. Cheese sausage. Double smoked sausage. Gluten free sausage, Cajun Andouille. Bacon & Cheddar Smokies. Teriyaki Jerky. The list goes on. Grab a jar or two of Kozlik’s mustard while you’re there. Dine in the shadow of the giant sausage or take it for the road.

Make extra time:

Mini Mex Bakery - exactly like walking into a bakery in Mexico. Make this diversion into Two Hills for authentic Mexican fare.

Copper Cork Distillery- if you’re an adult only group, stop at this inviting taproom in the heart of historic downtown Vermilion. An extensive menu of excellent concoctions using locally produced spirits are on offer. The staff are thrilled to help you select and taste the prefect bottle to take home with you.

Elk Island National Park - walk off the tastings of the day at this bison rich park with trails and oTENTiks—combo tent/cabin—to stay in. Easy, short trails include Lakeview and Beaver Pond Trails, the latter good for viewing bison, moose and waterfowl.