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Anna Mae’s in Millbank will be featured in Food Network’s You Gotta Eat Here

By Mike Beitz, The Beacon Herald
Saturday, November 8, 2014 12:38:24 EST PM

You gotta eat at Anna Mae’s.

John Catucci says so.

The host of the award-winning Food Network Canada show You Gotta Eat Here was in Millbank this week with a television crew to film an episode entirely dedicated to the delectable desserts dished up at the popular Perth County bakery and restaurant.

Lights, cameras and sound equipment were installed in the bakery Tuesday for a segment on pies – specifically Dutch apple, pecan and pumpkin. And Wednesday, the scene shifted to the dining room to interview customers about just what makes them special.

“It was so much fun,” said Anna Mae’s assistant manager Amanda Herrfort of the two-day shoot. “Very stress free. Very easy. And the whole crew was great.”

The invitation to appear on You Gotta Eat Here came through back in March, and Herrfort said she didn’t hesitate for a second.

“I was super excited,” she said. “It was a real honour just to be considered for the show, and to actually make it on was even better.”

While she and bakery manager Sheila Bauman helped out behind the scenes this week, manager Janice Kropf walked Catucci through some of the finer points of piemaking – peeling the apples and making the crumb topping for the Dutch apple, peeling, steaming and smashing the pumpkins for the pumpkin pie, and, of course, making the dough.

Catucci, known for his on-air antics, even donned a frilly white apron for his bakery work.

That sense of humour helped ease any jitters that customers might have had about appearing on camera Wednesday, when filming moved to the dining room.

“Everyone was quite excited,” said Herrfort. “Some were a little nervous at first, but they got over that pretty quickly.”

While locals likely don’t need to be convinced that they “gotta eat” at Anna Mae’s, Herrfort said the show will hopefully whet the appetites of diners from further away for its unique Mennonite cooking and baking.

“I think it’s a great opportunity for us,” she said. “And we’re just honoured that they found us all the way out here in little Millbank.”

In fact, You Gotta Eat here director Jim Morrison, who won a Canadian Screen Award in March for his work on the show, has eaten at Anna Mae’s several times before, noted Herrfort.

Wednesday, he tweeted a photo of one of the restaurant’s most popular items – the broasted chicken.

“This is one of my favourite dishes in Canada,” he wrote.

The You Gotta Eat Here episode featuring Anna Mae’s will be shown on the Food Network Canada sometime in the spring.

It will be the second area eatery to be included on the show’s list of Canada’s best comfort food spots.

In the fall of 2011, Catucci and crew were in downtown Stratford to film a segment on Boomers Gourmet Fries.

mike.beitz@sunmedia.ca

Anna Mae’s Bakery and Restaurant: Millbank’s crown jewel

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.

www.southwesternontario.ca/whatson-story/9223954-anna-mae-s-bakery-and-restaurant-millbank-s-crown-jewel/

Days Out Ontario

We were featured on Days Out Ontario, and recognized as having Ontario’s BEST PIE!!