The following is an article that originally appeared on InHalton.com.
It’s no secret that diners throughout the GTA are adventurous and therefore always on the hunt for unique, local food items and a memorable and well-rounded dining experience that they won’t soon forget (and that they’ll want to return to sooner rather than later).
What is a bit of a secret is that one such restaurant has been hiding in plain sight in the lush greenbelt area of Milton (Campbellville, to be exact).
And not only does this restaurant offer exceptional food, it also offers live entertainment in the form of world-class horse racing.
A few years ago, locavore diners opened their hearts and minds to locally-sourced cuisine and began seeking out options across Southern Ontario. Now, people who frequent the bustling and long-standing Woodbine Mohawk Park in Campbellville have one such option—the unique and casual dining hotspot Mohawk Harvest Kitchen (MHK).
If you haven’t heard of MHK, you’ll no doubt appreciate a peek at this somewhat hidden culinary gem that specializes in from-scratch dishes comprised of locally-sourced ingredients.
“Woodbine Mohawk Park features many restaurants and bars, and the big thing about Mohawk Harvest Kitchen is that everything is freshly made in house,” says Jonathan Zworth, Marketing Manager, Woodbine Entertainment.
“We have gluten-free options as well, and most of our ingredients are locally-sourced. We have fresh Ontario lake fish, Ontario sirloin, Ontario short-rib. Everything is very local.”
The menu—which also features a signature MHK burger, rotisserie roasted chicken, New York strip, rigatoni, soups, salads and more—is a fresh addition to the popular race track’s dining scene.
“It’s a new concept to us. The inspiration came from us being located in the green belt and we wanted to be the first racetrack and venue of our size to really do something locally-inspired,” says Fletcher Falls, Woodbine Mohawk Park Director of Hospitality, adding that it’s only logical to craft a locally-inspired menu in an area full of vast, pristine farmland.
“We have so many farms surrounding us, it only makes sense to take advantage of what the land around us has to offer. We joke that one can’t toss a stone without hitting a nearby farm. As such we’ve really tried to embrace the ‘locavore’ concept and offer our guests unique and carefully considered dishes prepared with locally sourced produce and ingredients.”
While Woodbine Mohawk Park draws people to the racetrack with the promise of exciting, edge-of-your-seat horse races, diners don’t just have to place bets to enjoy MHK.
The restaurant is open to the public, so diners can grab a seat in the modern, casual-upscale lounge or on the patio and take in both world-class horse racing and food.
“Everyone knows us for our great racing, but not everyone knows we have such great food,” says Zworth. “It’s approached in a methodical way and our chefs take great pride in preparing the food. Our dining rooms are fresh and unique, and MHK has an open-air patio that’s very modern.
As far as food goes, MHK boasts some incredibly popular dishes, including the aforementioned MHKBurger (made with fresh ground Ontario sirloin, Thorneloe white cheddar, bacon, arugula, spicy tomato jam and grain mustard aioli) and the Fish and Chips, which uses different fish depending on what is available and in season.
For head Chef Robert Bakular, a graduate from Humber College’s renowned culinary program who has been working in hotels and restaurants throughout the GTA for over 40 years, quality is paramount.
“At Woodbine Mohawk Park, we really aligned ourselves with suppliers that embraced our vision of local and sustainable products. For instance, our produce supplier sends us updated weekly farm-to-table availability as well as the actual farms and locations. This certainly makes for a feeling of connection and intimacy with our food suppliers. Some of which we recognise on our printed menus,” he says, emphasizing that MHK boasts a scratch production kitchen.
Bakular has been working in Woodbine kitchens for over 20 years.
“From our spicy tomato jam, mayonnaise, Caesar dressing to our fresh made stocks and reduction sauces, it is truly a labour of love. The meals served in the MHK kitchen are fairly simple to the eye with a focus on fresh quality ingredients at fair market prices. Mohawk Harvest Kitchen certainly reinforces my belief that fresh is always better, and it created an opportunity unlike any other kitchen that I have been associated with in the past.”
And while the food is top notch and appealing to anyone in search of a memorable, high-quality meal, the restaurant sets itself apart by pairing its meals with a heaping side of entertainment.
Diners in the mood for well-crafted cuisine should also note that the MHK is open all-year round and ideal for parties and get-togethers. In fact, the restaurant can accommodate groups of up 20 people.
It’s also the perfect spot to enjoy delicious craft beverages on a one of a kind patio.
MHK offers locally sourced draft beer, including the exclusive Back Stretch Ale that’s produced by Orange Snail Brewery in Milton. The resto also offers Thornbury Cider and a selection of Ontario wines from Colio and other local wineries.
Diners can also cap off their meal with a decadent dessert and can choose from such options as sticky toffee pudding, Harvest carrot cake, ice cream and sorbet and more.
Cheese lovers can also partake in the restaurant’s Ontario cheese board, which comes with a selection of Ontario cheeses, grape jelly, fresh fruits and Ace Bakery crostini.
“We appeal to anyone looking for a great experience. People come from all over to take in the Woodbine Mohawk Park experience.” says Zworth. “It’s a place to catch some great entertainment. There’s nowhere else you can go to enjoy a great racing experience paired with great food quite like this.
To learn more about Woodbine Mohawk Park and book a reservation, click here.
Subscribe to Woodbine Mohawk Park emails so you can stay in the loop on exclusive food specials and upcoming events.