By: Scott Way
If you're an Ontario boater there's a good chance you've heard of Henry's Restaurant. If you haven't, it's a famed stop located on Frying Pan Island (also known as Sans Souci) on Georgian Bay and it serves some of the best fish and chips in the world. That claim may not be entirely subjective either, the constant stream of satisfied boaters cruising through in search of deep fried fulfillment serves as proof of the great food and unique atmosphere that Henry's has frying up since 1978. Henry's is a destination for boaters of all types seeking to grab a fresh bite in the heart of Ontario's 30,000 island archipelago.
Accessible only by water, Henry's is visited by local recreational boaters, Loopers, fisherman, and float planes, with peak summer days seeing up to 800 satiated customers pass through. During the height of summer, activity around the island is a testament to just how beautiful Georgian Bay is, and why boaters cruise back year after year. In the heart of the 30,000 Islands, Sans Souci and the surrounding area are full of meandering routes through Canada's most stunning intercoastal waterways. Feeling peckish but don't have your own boat? No worries. Henry's offers a taxi service from nearby Parry Sound (21 kilometres to the east), or you can hire a float plane to whisk you away for a romantic dinner overlooking the Bay. You can also hop on Parry Sound's tourist vessel The Islander for a lunch cruise.
All of this is without discussing the food, where the day's catch comes right to the dock, goes into the fryer, and comes right back out to you. The restaurant itself could be easily mistaken for just another cottage among many living the island life, its modest signage a testament to its homegrown family mentality, but the full slips and busy patio are proof that Henry's offers great food, excellent service, and a fantastic atmosphere that keeps boaters coming back.
Take your pick of local pickerel (or 'walleye' for our American friends), whitefish, lake trout, or perch. Generous servings of baked beans, coleslaw, or French fries are the available accoutrements for the fish, but there is a also a full menu with ample offerings for any tastes. Should you go for the fish, the battered pickerel comes highly recommended by just about every pilot or captain you ask on the way over. Grab a seat on the patio and take in the Georgian Bay's vista while you fill up and soak in the atmosphere. If you've got room left over, Henry's isn't just famous for their fish either- they make a legendary butter tart, too. Grab one for dessert for the ride back and you'll be cruising in sugary bliss.
Simply put- if you're an Ontario boater Henry's should be on your destination list. The trip can be done in a day if you trailer your vessel, but the region itself also offers full provisions for seasonal boaters or those looking for an extended trip.
Check out what it's like from a boater's perspective to travel from nearby Midland harbour to Henry's to grab lunch.
If you're an Ontario boater looking to learn about many of Ontario's best routes from a boaters perspective, check out BoatingWithBoogaboo on YouTube.
To see what it's like to visit Henry's from the air, check out this great video below: