The Old Country Restaurant keeps on serving.
After celebrating 25 years in New Hamburg this past September, restaurant owner Jim Mantas and his wife Susan are thankful for the opportunity to have been a part of the community over the years.
“I was in the restaurant business previously in Waterloo, but when we saw this, we thought it was a really good fit. It was the right size and we had a lot of friends in New Hamburg then,” Mantas said.
“We live in Kitchener and at the time, our two oldest kids were in high school. It was a bit of culture shock at first because it was so rural. There were only a couple restaurants here at the time, but it was so community.”
And it’s this sense of community that Mantas and his wife are so grateful for after having also created that comfortable, small town feeling within their restaurant.
“We’ve watched the community grow tremendously and the town has always supported it’s restaurants. We are very thankful,” he says.
But one thing that hasn’t changed over the last 25 years for Mantas, is staying true to the restaurant’s customers.
“We have always been consistent. We keep doing what we’ve always done. We try to just be honest and real,” Mantas says.
Customers from all over Waterloo Region and beyond keep coming back to experience the warm country feel and flavour.
“That’s what people like, consistency,” he says. “If it’s a burger, schnitzel, or a sandwich, it all goes over really well.”
“We have beef barley soup on Fridays and if for some reason we don’t, oh no! We’ve done what we’ve always done for our clientele. The customers have made us who we are.”
Mantas takes pride in building his menu to reflect a commitment in serving quality, local, Ontario produce maintaining relationships with local businesses such as Don’s Produce, Flanagan’s, Oak Grove Cheese, Cloverleaf Farms and Baden Coffee.
But for Mantas, it’s not all about food as much as it is about the people.
“Our three kids put themselves through school, working here. My daughter met her husband who was working here too. We have people come here who came as kids and now they are bringing their kids. We have generations coming back and visiting. That is a big part of it for us,’ Mantas says.
The Old Country Restaurant is located at 105 Peel St. in New Hamburg and is open six days a week, Sundays from 9 am – 8 pm and Tuesdays until Saturdays from 7 am – 8 pm.
It is the longest running restaurant in New Hamburg and today, employs 16 staff members.
“Seeing all of the people that have worked here over the years coming back, that’s the best part. To watch them grow up, come back with their new careers and new families, that really is the best,” Mantas said.
“And to all our customers, thank you. We appreciate each and every last one of them.”