Popular eatery a must-stop for homemade Mennonite cooking, baked goods
by: Dan McNee
MILLBANK — There’s something about sitting down for dinner with family and friends at Anna Mae’s Bakery and Restaurant that is reminiscent of heading downstairs for a delicious, homemade Sunday meal when you were young. It’s that sense of comfort and familiarity — along with the exceptional food, of course — that keeps hungry patrons coming back for more.
“It’s homemade and it’s reasonably priced,” said Anna Mae’s assistant manager Amanda Herrfort. “There’s a homey atmosphere; it just makes everybody feel comfortable like they’re at home.”
The popular Millbank restaurant has grown exponentially since its early days of operating out of Anna Mae Wagler’s kitchen in 1978. The local Mennonite entrepreneur started out baking and selling pies from her home until moving the business to its current Line 72 location, eventually expanding it through the rest of her family’s home to evolve it into the present-day restaurant that seats 200, as well as the storefront, gift shop and bakery. Wagler sold the business to local residents Marlene and the late Mel Herrfort in 2001, whose family continues to uphold the high standard that was first laid out by Anna Mae so many years ago.
Offering extensive breakfast, lunch and supper menus featuring a rotating weekly meat schedule that includes favourites such as full broasted chicken and turkey dinners, it’s a rare sight to see Anna Mae’s parking lot not filled to capacity.
“It’s a small town, so you get to know a lot of people,” said Amanda Herrfort. “We have a lot of regulars too, they’re not necessarily from the area but they’ll make the drive a couple times a month. We have a lot of familiar faces, so you get to build connections with people.”
Anna Mae’s pies have become the stuff of legend in midwestern Ontario and beyond. Offering approximately 17 different flavours, some folks make the drive just to get the opportunity to dig into their treat of choice; whether that be coconut cream, pumpkin, blueberry, lemon or the ever-popular Dutch apple. A full array of doughnuts, cheesecakes, sweet buns, tarts and muffins are also readily available from the bakery.
The restaurant’s popularity has not gone unnoticed by the Food Network’s popular show, You Gotta Eat Here!, after being featured on the program in 2015. But Anna Mae’s doesn’t need a television show to tell you how good the dining experience is — the terrific food and outstanding service speaks for itself.
“If you want to come, everybody is very friendly and very personable,” said Herrfort of her staff, a small army of full- and part-time workers numbering about 80 personnel. “I’m very proud of how everyone works together, and treats the guests how they’d like to be treated. Come join us.”
Anna Mae’s Bakery and Restaurant is located at 4060 Line 72 in Millbank. Hours are Mondays to Saturdays from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m., closed Sundays and holidays. The business is completely accessible, and can be reached at 519-595-4407 or online at annamaes.ca.