Les Clefs D'Or
Les Clefs D'Or

Your Key To Alliston Canada – 2023 Les Clefs d’Or Award Nominee

With its beautiful blend of both rural feels and urban life, the ever-growing town of Alliston truly has it all. In just a ‎quick hour drive north of Toronto, right along the way to cottage country; visitors can take the turn off Highway 89 ‎West and make their way to downtown Alliston. The culinary scene on Victoria Street has grown tremendously over ‎the past few years and it’s something that cannot be missed! One does not only have to experience these fantastic ‎local venues on Friday and Saturday night, this culinary atmosphere has expanded throughout the week for all to ‎enjoy with many new doors opening and an abundance of new flavors to try by excited clientele. Alliston’s creative ‎business owners have a passion for everything that gets plated, poured, and created, making me proud to call this ‎town home.‎

Below you will find my favorite spots to dine and enjoy in downtown Alliston:‎

Gušt – Chef Damir Tas previously owned Al Carbon, a Peruvian restaurant in Collingwood two years ago – and was ‎looking to open a second restaurant in the south end region of Alliston. Chef Tas decided on Mediterranean fusion ‎to bring something different to the area and cater to the local clientele. Gušt which is pronounced ‘Gusht’ is a ‎Croatian word that translates to simple pleasures. The menu is inspired by his Croatian roots and extensive travels ‎throughout South America including Peru, Chili, Argentina, and Uruguay where he was intrigued by the peppers and ‎unique flavours. Gušt has been designed to be a clean, modern, and inviting dining space that is perfect for date ‎night or a special occasion. ‎

Chef Damir Tas shares a lifelong passion for hospitality and culinary creation starting from an early age: “I lived and ‎breathed restaurants as long as I can remember. I grew up in Croatia and came to Canada as a teenager. My father ‎was a chef, along with my grandmother. I was in a kitchen my whole life – the wait staff basically raised me. After ‎moving to Canada, I went to culinary school and started working on private golf clubs and hotels. Over coming years, ‎I helped open a couple restaurants.” ‎
Instagram: @gust.alliston

da Grazia Ristorante – Francesco and Graziella DeLeo along with their children, Domenico, Teresa, and ‎Francesca, moved from their southern Italian hometown of Calabria, in the summer of 2014 to bring their love and ‎passion for great Italian food to the New Tecumseth community. In each of daGrazia’s dishes you will find a taste of ‎home and the roots of Italy, as they have stayed true to their Italian heritage, traditions, finest culture, and family ‎recipes to enhance their love for food and unique style of Italian cooking.‎
www.dagrazia.com ‎
Instagram: @dagrazia.ristorante

Taqueria El Norte – Taqueria El Norte brings vibrant flair, eclectic style, unique craft beer and flavorful ‎dishes to downtown Alliston with a Taqueria experience to savour and enjoy. Being raised in California, Chef Rob ‎Clements was surrounded by delicious Mexican food at a young age which fueled his dream of opening a Taqueria ‎of his own. This Taqueria knocks it out of the park with flavour, unique tacos, and a curated craft beer menu to ‎explore!‎
Instagram: @taqueria_el_norte‎

Northern Espresso/Northern Blush Floral – A beautiful combination of florals and lattes, this ‎stunning creation by Ash and Cait Bolton brings something fresh and new to the main street of Alliston. Walking into ‎this space you will find yourself immersed in floral and fauna, followed by the sensational aromas of coffee and ‎espresso. Unique coffee blends, fresh grab & go bites, one of a kind gifts, and unique floral arrangements with a flair ‎‎– this place brings urban luxury to the streets of Alliston! ‎
Instagram: @northern_espresso_bar @northernblushfloral

William’s – William’s combines a classic century home of Alliston heritage with upscale delicious comfort food, ‎to delight its clienteles’ cravings and nostalgia of rural living. Named after her Grandson, Sandra Lambie took a 100-‎year-old home in downtown Alliston and truly made it resemble our beautiful community. ‘Alliston’s homegrown ‎casual dining’ is a local spot to enjoy delicious locally sourced food, a stunning outdoor patio and live music to feel ‎exactly at home!‎
Instagram: williamsalliston

Michael is a candidate for the 2023 Les Clefs d’Or Award. This article has been published in its original form.

Meet the Author
Michael Lombardi

From a young age, I have been surrounded by those who have dedicated themselves to the hospitality industry. ‎With family owning and operating their own resort just north of Toronto, I was exposed to countless hospitality roles ‎and operations which helped grow my passion for the field of hospitality and tourism. My childhood experiences ‎brought me many learning opportunities working in all areas of the resort ranging from construction development, ‎the golf course, food and beverage, concierge, and the front office. ‎ To develop my knowledge and experience further, I chose to enrol in Fanshawe College’s esteemed hospitality ‎program. In 2010, I graduated from Fanshawe Colleges Hospitality – Hotel Management Program with Honors and in ‎‎2011 Fanshawe Colleges Concierge Services/Guest Relations Specialist Post Graduate Program. ‎ To expand my hospitality horizons and broaden my abilities within the hospitality industry, I was given the ‎opportunity to gain knowledge and experience working for a luxury brand hotel. I made the move to Banff to work ‎at the Castle in the Rockies, The Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel. There I embarked on my role as Fairmont Gold ‎Supervisor & Concierge, where I was fortunate to be mentored by renowned and respected, Mr. Don Mooney. On ‎my first day, I remember being curious and inquiring what the golden keys on his lapel represented, and from that ‎day forward my training began to attain the coveted Les Clefs d’Or Canada membership. ‎ In November 2013, I received my very own pair of golden keys being accepted into the Les Clefs d’Or Canada ‎association, a night I will always cherish and reflect on with great pride. My growth and development in the ‎association continued and in 2014, I was honoured to be elected Vice Director of the Alberta Region. ‎ In 2015, a difficult decision was made to move back Ontario to spearhead a new concierge project at the ‎Nottawasaga Inn Resort, where I have been met with both successes and challenges. These successes and ‎challenges have been fueled by my passion for service excellence. As the hotel’s first Guest Relations and ‎Concierge Supervisor, I had been tasked with creating a new level of service excellence within the entire hotel. I ‎have broadened the scope of my concierge work, moving from the Alberta tourist region of Banff, into a resort ‎setting outside of Toronto. In doing so, I have utilized my knowledge and skills learned from a luxury resort to ‎expand the knowledge and services of a family owned establishment. This shift has been a challenging learning ‎experience, but one I have not shied away from. With constant determination, the drive to uphold professionalism ‎and service excellence has helped me instill necessary hospitality and Les Clefs d’Or values into the resort.‎ Through perseverance, dedication to hospitality, and professional growth, 2019 became an incredible year of ‎personal growth and accomplishments, including a promotion to Guest Service Manager & Chef Concierge at the ‎Nottawasaga Inn Resort as well as being elected Vice Director of the Ontario Region within Les Clefs d’Or Canada. In ‎‎2021, during the unforeseen global pandemic, I became the Director of the Ontario Region. When faced with the ‎adversities of restrictions and closures I ensured our members were supported and their voices heard. Despite the ‎difficult circumstances the pandemic years caused, we are continuously there for our guests and continue to do so ‎no matter the odds. I am looking forward to my second term as Director in our breathtaking region.‎ Every day brings on a new request and a chance to make a moment into a memory!‎

Nottawasaga Inn Resort

The Nottawasaga Resort is an all-season resort hotel nestled within the quiet countryside of the Nottawasaga Valley. ‎The Resort offer a relaxing place for families and vacation travelers to getaway as well as extensive meeting and ‎reception rooms which are perfect for conference groups as well those celebrating a wedding or social event.‎ Stay within your choice of 269 spacious hotel accommodations. Guestrooms offer a warm and inviting private ‎hideaway which is perfect for a short getaway or a resort vacation. Treat yourself to the ultimate in luxury and ‎spend your vacation within one of our thirty-four luxurious suites which are furnished with a Jacuzzi and gas ‎fireplace. Whether you're looking for an ultimate golf getaway, a resort destination or a weekend retreat The ‎Nottawasaga Resort have a line-up of vacation packages that will fit all budgets.‎ Play a round of golf on one of the two golf courses offering 45 regulation holes of golf or participate in the non-stop ‎recreational activities available within the 70,000 sq.ft. health and fitness centre. Take an exhilarating ride down the ‎‎3 storey 100 ft waterslide, splash in the indoor Tropical Rainforest themed 25 m swimming pool, perfect your shot ‎on our indoor mini-golf adventure, enjoy a relaxing massage or workout in our fully equipped gym featuring indoor ‎squash and tennis courts. Throughout the fall enjoy the refreshing crisp air and colourful autumn foliage as you ‎explore the natural beauty of the hiking trails.‎ Meet with us for your next group meeting or conference and discover the endless choices that will make your ‎meeting extraordinary. The full-service conference facility is perfect for small groups or large conferences offering ‎an unprecedented line-up of meeting spaces within 36 meeting rooms including an onsite trade centre. Dining ‎within one of the three restaurants ranges from causal food to fine dining or unwind after a day of meetings within ‎the bar and lounge. The restaurants and elegantly appointed banquet rooms also provide a perfect location to host ‎a social event. Whether you're planning your wedding, celebrating a milestone party, throwing a birthday bash, or ‎hosting a family reunion your event with The Nottawasaga Resort will be a memorable occasion.‎ ‎‎6015 Hwy. 89, Alliston, Ontario L9R 1A4‎


+1 ‎705 435 5501‎

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