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Old Bridge Inn: Ingredients from around the corner, at the end of the road

Old Bridge Inn
2057 Old Highway 28, Young’s Point

Once upon a time, the tiny village of Young’s Point was home to a steamboat dynasty. Francis Young founded the small settlement in 1825, and his descendants created the Stoney Lake Navigation Company in the 1880s. Starting with the 75-foot Fairy, and followed by other graceful vessels like the Empress and the Islinda, these wooden ships ferried well-dressed (and well-heeled) vacationers across the Kawarthas, in style. A grist mill was built, and, in 1887, the Kearny general store, which once sat right at the end of the road.

Now, that general store is the Old Bridge Inn (OBI), a restaurant and bed-and-breakfast, anchoring one end of an 1870s wrought-iron bridge. Boaters still wander over from Lock 27 on the Trent-Severn Waterway, finding truly excellent food on a patio overlooking the village, now sleepy and scenic. And you can be assured that the food on your plate will be as local as possible, too. “We’re lucky, we have a lot, right here, around us,” says Chef Evan Podd, gesturing to places nearby. “The biggest thing—we know that the products are fresh. And it’s more than that—it’s about supporting your neighbour.”

For Podd, who co-owns the OBI with wife Kelly, that’s very literal, something they integrate into a menu that can change as often as weekly. They source basil and other greens and herbs from Pure Home Grown, an aquaponics operation just a short walk away. Zucchini, green beans, runner beans and cucumber come from a farm just up the highway, and many of their proteins, including chicken, pork and lamb, are sourced from a farm on nearby Stony Lake Road.

Even better, sometimes the ingredients are delivered right to their door—a woman from Buckhorn sometimes brings melons by, and a lot of their produce, including beets, peppers and tomatoes, are delivered by another farmer. “He’ll even plant specific crops for us, if we give him enough time,” says Podd. “His black radishes are out of this world.”

And, on two acres surrounding the inn, they chop their own wood for the patio pizza oven, and grow cilantro, oregano, chives, and even edible flowers like marigolds, lilies and pansies, which they use in salads. “It’s all organic, and the flowers just keep reproducing, which is great,” observes Podd, a busy man who also developed the culinary program for Lakefield College School.

Seasoned and well-respected restaurateurs, the two ran well-known spots in Peterborough—including the legendary Twilight Diner, and fine dining at 38 Degrees—before moving to the country. “We had our eye on this place for eight years, and we would call them every year to see if they were willing to sell,” smiles Kelly Podd. The steamships may be gone, but the beauty of the lakes and rivers remain. “Nature is all around us—we’re always seeing herons and osprey, flying by.” Dinner, with a view.

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