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Andrew's RootsIf you want an elegant culinary experience in Meaford, Andrew’s Roots is the place to go. Located on the main street, right across from the Meaford Hall, it’s a great restaurant that specializes in affordable, casual-fine dining. The restaurant was opened in 2015 by Andrew Barber and his wife Sylvia Gardulski. They both have worked in the restaurant industry for many years; Sylvia for over 20 years and Andrew was “bred for the job” after being raised in his parents’ restaurant in Meaford.  But Andrew’s Roots is very special to the couple because it is one of the first restaurants that they have opened and operated together.  Five years ago, Andrew and Sylvia opened Simplicity Bistro in Thornbury with a close friend. Opening Simplicity Bistro had a huge impact on their careers.

“We had a lot of pride [opening Simplicity Bistro] and we really enjoyed a lot of experiences along the way,” Andrew said. “That’s definitely where it began and we just continued on the journey that life seemed to take us.” After selling Simplicity Bistro three years ago, they took over ownership of The Mill Café in Thornbury.  The couple was then approached by Paul Osborne and Shirley Keaveney about opening a casual-fine dining restaurant in Meaford. “We always wanted to come to Meaford,” Andrew said, “we always loved the area and Sylvia wants to settle down here.” Meaford also holds a significant meaning to the couple because it’s Andrew’s hometown. “Coming back to [Andrew’s] roots, hence the name, was a no brainer,” Sylvia said. “We knew that this was the area we were going to end up digging our roots in.”Being one of the only fine dining restaurants in Meaford has set them apart from the other dining experiences in the area. “We tried to tailor the business to the demographic [of Meaford],” Andrew said. “We’ve changed a few things from our other business in order to meet the needs of the area.” Andrew and Sylvia both like to describe their business as “friendly, affordable, delicious and memorable.”

It’s that combination of factors that make Andrew’s Roots so special. “I hear over and over from people that they come here because the service is great,” Sylvia said. “They feel welcomed and with Andrew’s amazing cooking it’s a really nice fit.” Andrew focuses on sourcing the majority of his food from within Ontario and changes his menu to reflect what’s in season- but this poses a challenge for him during some parts of the year. “Ontario is a fun challenge for using local food because it works great for about four or five months of the year,” he said, “but for the other eight or seven months of the year it’s a little bit tougher.” Sylvia sees how much passion and love Andrew puts into his cooking and it’s reflected in his food. “A burger [at Andrew’s Roots] is not just a burger, a burger’s got that love and that little bit of extra in it,” she said. “It’s not just made with ground beef, we mix meats and herbs and spices and all kinds of things… that’s what sets us apart, it’s not taken from a box and cooked, it’s made for you.”The ambience of the restaurant also adds an extra special touch to the experience. The décor has a rustic, natural feel to it and the walls feature paintings from local artists focusing on trees and roots. The bright and open space makes patrons feel comfortable but also showcases the unique and upscale experience that the restaurant offers. Andrew and Sylvia both credit their staff for the dining experiences that they are able to give customers.  Their businesses employ about 30 people with 13 staff members working at Andrew’s Roots.

The work they do allows them to be close with their employees and they consider them to be their family. “We have 28 kids,” Andrew joked.Since Andrew and Sylvia have been in this industry for so long, they’ve been able to watch some of their employees grow over the years as their business has change. “It’s neat because we’ve done this for a long time, there’s individuals that I’ve watched go from their teens, to now running kitchens for us,” said Andrew. “To watch that transition from being very uncertain with what they’re going to do with their lives to watch them grow into a leader is awesome to watch.”The majority of their success though is because of their customers.  “A big thanks goes to our patrons, we really appreciate everyone’s support,” Andrew said. Andrew’s Roots is open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Sunday, Monday, Wednesday and Thursday and from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. The restaurant is closed on Tuesdays. Reservations are recommended but walk-ins are welcome. To make reservation at Andrew’s Roots call 519-538-9000 or emailreso@andrewsroots.com and for more information about the restaurant go to www.andrewsroots.com