Jeff Bray holds a burger up to the camera

Taste of the TSW with Jeff Bray: Lock & Anchor

Jeff Bray is the co-founder and festival director of the award-winning Cultivate Festival in Northumberland County. He’s also an instructor at Centennial College, where he teaches about food tourism, a former restauranteur, and a previous contributing writer to Watershed Magazine. We asked Jeff to give us his thoughts on a few of the unique Taste of the Trent-Severn products developed by businesses around Kawarthas Northumberland.

The village of Youngs Point may look tiny, but boaters exploring the Trent-Severn Waterway know it packs a lot in. For instance, there’s the historic Young Points Bridge, one of the oldest metal bridges in Ontario—and plenty of good eating. Dock a boat at Lock 27 and you’re not far from Lock & Anchor Eatery, a family-owned and operated restaurant that feels more like a home than a business after 30+ years and many owners and variations.

With no prior restaurant experience, Janice and Max Costa purchased Granny’s Kitchen back in 2016 in the hopes of inspiring their kids to move nearby and get involved. Having owned a restaurant myself, I can confidently say this is not a great reason to open a restaurant. The husband and wife team dug in nonetheless, and transformed the space into something they and their kids would be proud of.

Fast forward seven years and they’ve accomplished what they set out to do—the family did get involved! The point here is clear—what do I know?!

Burger, fries, and menu arranged on a table

Most recently, Janice and Max’s daughter Chrystal got involved and brought her baking expertise to the restaurant. The space and the menu were transformed under Crystal’s leadership, and eventually, in 2021, they rebranded as Lock & Anchor Eatery. The name change better reflects the quality of food on the table, and serves as a tribute to the boaters passing through Youngs Point as they traverse the historic Waterway.

I stopped in to taste their contribution to the Taste of the Trent-Severn, the TSW Veggie Burger. I must admit, this is a very worthy challenger to any red meat burger I have ever had. As a card carrying red meat lover, it came as a bit of a surprise!

The juicy handmade patties are packed with sweet potato, quinoa, oats and black beans. Topped with cheddar cheese and tucked into a soft and delicious house-made brioche bun, the TSW Veggie Burger came about because Crystal saw a trend happening in the industry towards healthier options and wanted to make sure she was taking care of her people. Lock & Anchor’s menu is rounded out with breakfast staples like Eggs Benny, sandwiches, burgers like the TSW Veggie Burger, and thin crust pizzas.

Overhead view of thin-crust pizza

The burger was served with a side of fries and spicy mayo, and I added a Riverside Wheat Ale from Focal Brewing Co., another item on the Taste of the Trent Severn Waterway from a brewery in Hastings (Focal was the last stop on my Taste of the TSW tour—see here for more). 

I’d ordered well, though I was still curious about the pizza. Crystal and her partner Lucas consider it a speciality, so despite the burger lunch, I went ahead and ordered a couple of pizzas too. I am always on the hunt for great pizza and this is GREAT pizza. No regrets! I threw in a cinnamon bun just for fun (don’t worry, I had a friend along to help me out). 

As you’d expect from a successful restaurateur, Crystal is plugged into her community and full of suggestions of things to try in the area. The Lockside Trading Company is a local landmark, offering everything from Canadian-made furniture to cottage-themed knick knacks—with a café and ice cream parlour to boot. Down Young’s Point Road is Kitchen Farmacy, a farm shop, winery and dining experience company that offers prepared foods and dining experiences. For families, Crystal recommends exploring the always fascinating Warsaw Caves.

A burger on the end of a table, with a fireplace in the background

There’s a few other food service operations around too. Lock 27 Tap and Grill at 2824 River Ave made their own delicious contribution to the Taste of the TSW program with their homemade smoked 7oz burgers and Lock 27 Draft. The Old Bridge Inn, open seasonally, is based in an historic building that exudes 19th century charm. The Lock & Anchor crew they don’t see them as competition, though, but as community. They’re pushing for the industry to be less competitive, which is rarely the case. It’s an attitude as fresh as their bread!

It’s clear they know how to cook at Lock & Anchor. It doesn’t stop there though. While Crystal was in the kitchen, Max, her dad, was serving tables! He pulled up in his pickup truck and got to work. It was amazing! In a small family business like this, you’ve gotta wear a bunch of hats and Max is everything from a server to a delivery driver to a landscaper, and everything in between. 

Lock & Anchor is all about home-cooked food, fresh-baked bread and service from owners who treat you like family in an atmosphere that feels like home. What more could you ask for?

Read more of Jeff’s adventures along the Trent-Severn Waterway here

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