Famous foods to try out on a road trip in the Ottawa Valley
People choosing staycations in the Ottawa Valley this summer can add a few stops to their road trip.
While it's easy to stop at any fast food location on the way to your campground, hiking trail, or beach; there are some hidden gems in the valley featuring some famous foods that are worth stopping for.
Roughly 40 minutes west of downtown Ottawa, Arnprior is home to Wes' Chips, a fry truck on Madawaska Boulevard that has been serving French fries for the last 63 years.
"The potatoes themselves come all the way from PEI, so that's probably the biggest secret in where the flavour comes from, is the potato," says Wes' Chips co-owner Lisa Hordichuk.
The fry truck serves one thing and one thing only, French fries - and they specifically do not serve poutine. Fry boxes come in small, medium, large, and extra large.
The fries are cut by hand every day with many regular customers choosing to get their orders "halfway", where only half the fry box is filled to allow salt and vinegar to go on before being topped off.
"Inside it's like a mashed potato and then a crispy outside," said Hordichuk describing what the fries are like. "They're just so good you crave them. You think of them and you crave them."
Bacon on a Bun
Continuing west along Hwy. 17 from Arnprior you will hit Renfrew, where the town of Renfrew and Bacon on a Bun are synonymous.
"It's peameal bacon, three slices of peameal bacon on a bun, with cheese if you want," says Janet Springer, who chairs the Bacon on a Bun stand for the Renfrew Rotary Club.
"It's a specific hamburger bun, because that's all part of the little secret."
Unlike other stops on this road trip where the eats are readily available, Bacon on a Bun is only offered for one long weekend per year - during the Renfrew Fair in September. Around 5,000 sandwiches are sold over the weekend, equaling roughly 2,000 pounds of bacon.
"People have tried to copy bacon on a bun, and it's just the taste I guess," says Springer on what makes bacon on a bun so unique. "People say, 'So and so did bacon on a bun but it doesn't taste like Rotary's Bacon on a Bun.'"
The Granary Schnitzel Haus
Taking Highway 60 west out of Renfrew will eventually take you straight through the heart of Eganville where European cuisine and The Granary Schnitzel Haus have become renowned.
Owner Alexis Letourneau says they pound their schnitzel thin everyday before battering it and frying it fresh to order.
Twelve different kinds of schnitzel are on the menu at The Ganary, from traditional to mushroom schnitzel, Florentine schnitzel, carbonara schnitzel, and Zwiebel schnitzel being some of their more popular options.
"We do it with mashed potatoes and vegetables," says Letourneau. "Everything is homemade."
"All of our sauces are homemade so it just adds to the authenticity of our restaurant."
The Schnitzel Haus has been a mainstay on Eganville's Main Street since 1985.