The Ancaster Mill, Ancaster, Ontario
The history of Ancaster Mill and the origins of the Town of Ancaster are inseparable. Being the third oldest community in Ontario (after Kingston and Niagara-on-the-Lake), the settlement of Ancaster naturally evolved from the establishment of the flour mill. Ever since, the Ancaster Mill has been at the centre of more than 200 years of local history.
In its own history, four mills have graced the site – each upon the foundation of the last. The first three were destroyed by fire and the existing stone flour mill was built in 1863. The building was constructed with limestone blocks taken from the actual site. Its walls are four feet thick at the base. The flour mill is one of the most substantial stone structures in the province. Built before the advent of steam or electric power, it is a testament to mid-19th-century ingenuity, architecture and sheer willpower.
In 1972 the Ciancone family purchased the Mill property and began the building and restoration process. This culminated in the grand opening of the Ancaster Mill as a restaurant in February 1979, shortly after they began operating as a special events venue. Ancaster Mill has been in continuous operation ever since, maintaining its role as a key element in the community.
The Ancaster Mill is also where so much of the Hamilton region’s local food movement began. What began as a single renovated mill has now grown to be an array of properties scattered around south western Ontario, all ascribing to similar locavore philosophy. One of the cornerstones and also a great example of their philosophy is the teaching farm, Earth to Table, that they started just outside Hamilton on a parcel of land that they purchased which will eventually supply many of their restaurants. Part of the organization called FarmStart, it has become a teaching centre for aspiring growers.
It’s at this farm that their Craft Cut beef programme has been developed. The untrimmed meat stored in an environmentally-controlled cooler for up to 45 days before hand-cutting. On the menu it’s named CRAFT CUT Premium Steak and comes is a variety of formats…from 7 oz tenderloins to the full-on 28 oz cȏte de boeuf for two that’s beautifully marbled.
The kitchen team, led by Executive Chef Motonobu Nishimura and Chef de Cuisine Takayoshi Li, have elevated fine, traditional flavours by finding inspiration in the world around them. The menus at Ancaster Mill always feature a theme or ingredient that highlights the current season. In the dead of winter you’ll find items from the pantry, larder and cellar, inspired by the traditions of many cultures for preserving; in the spring, the bright green of asparagus is the symbol of new life and fresh flavours; and in the fall, we look to the autumn’s harvest of pumpkin and squash for rich flavours that inspire family feast.
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The Ancaster Mill
548 Old Dundas Road
Ancaster, Ontario L9G 3J4