Chris Porter (left) and Mary Ham have put a lot of effort into making Butler’s Family restaurant into a place where people would want to gather, and the community is responding. Tinkess Photo
INGLESIDE – If you live in the Ingleside area, and you’re looking for a night out, then the place to go is Butler’s Restaurant, located at 23 Thorold Lane in the Ingleside Plaza.
Butlers has been a part of Ingleside life for nearly a decade and is the creation of Mary Ham and her husband, Chef Chris Porter (a Cordon Bleu trained chef, by the way.) The plaza where the restaurant is located was built around 1958 during the construction of the St. Lawrence Seaway, but the restaurant was extensively renovated by the current owners when they opened their doors.
“We wanted to build a place where the community could gather,” said Ham. “And we were doing that up till the pandemic, but then people couldn’t gather so we lost that. It’s starting to come back; we’re seeing people getting together again.”
The restaurant has an interesting atmosphere, one that suits a couple out for a quiet date night dinner, but it is also a great place for groups of twenty or more to gather for a special occasion. Have a seat at the massive bar and watch the game, grab a seat at one of the cabaret tables, select a window seat, or slide into a booth, the choice is yours.
One thing that Butler’s has become known for is the special events they host on an ongoing basis. Whatever your interests, you can be sure there will be something to pique your interest, whether it is karaoke, trivia nights, live music, or any number of other attractions (Wing night and Thirsty Thursdays go without saying.) Recently they hosted an evening with illusionist David Jans, and he did not disappoint. “It was excellent,” explained Ham. “We had a good crowd, and everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves.”
When the warm weather returns, the fun spreads out the door and onto the patio where you can enjoy a cold drink and enjoy the sun and fresh air while leisurely enjoying whatever Chris has prepared for you.
Then there’s the food, which is all freshly prepared. They have an eclectic menu, not the kind of thing you would normally expect to see in a small town. “We take traditional selections and put our own touch on preparing them,” said Ham. You receive substantial portions, and the menu is varied enough to please just about everyone, supplemented by old favourites, daily specials and deserts that go well with a hot beverage (Irish coffee, perhaps?) There is never a concern that you will go home hungry.
And speaking of beverages, Butler’s maintains a fully stocked bar and carries beverages from local craft brewers as well as the major brands. Coffee, tea and assorted non-alcoholic beverages are also available.
The food, the ambiance and the entertainment all serve to make Butlers the place you want to go to, but it is Mary, Chris and their staff who make you want to return, soon and often. Even if it is your first visit, before you leave, you will feel as if you have known them your entire life. Good friends, good food, and good times, what more could you ask for?
To learn more about Butler’s Restaurant, visit them on Facebook.
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Terry Tinkess is a professional photographer, educator and journalist. He has been making a living with a camera and keyboard since 1999 and has been featured in such publications as The Ottawa Citizen, Cornwall Standard Freeholder, The Globe and Mail, The Miami Herald, Ottawa Construction News, The Ontario Construction Report, Ontario Home Builder Magazine, Reed Construction Data, Canadian Potato Business and most recently, The Record and Eastern Ontario AgriNews. Terry lives in Ingleside, Ontario with his wife Brenda, Mia the anxious Pittie and cats Wally and Chubbers.