From an Newspaper Article by Harold & Wendy Nesbit of the Motorcycle Guide Tour Guide of Nova Scotia – Chronicle Herald Summer 2005 ” Let’s Ride”
At lunchtime we stopped at the Fairwinds Motel & Restaurant in Sheet Harbour and filled our bellies with hot seafood chowder and delicious deep fried clams. Warmed up and recharged we then continued along the # 7 highway. Even in the rain the scenery was beautiful and everything smelled fresh & clean.
- Don & Bev M., Peterborough Ontario. – Wonderful Seafood Chowder
- Ingrid & Walter W., Germany – The chowder is the BEST anywhere & the Fish & Chips too !
- Stephane C., Guadeloupe – Good Food! … Nice People
- The Masons, Nova Scotia – Best Haddock we have every had.
- Cherly S., Saskatoon – Pretty view and good food.
- Peter & Liz C., Florida – Great place, nice people, super food
- Greta B., Switzerland – Excellent food & friendly server… beautiful surroundings.
- Rick H., Maine – Awesome Fish & Chips. Slept like a log and great breakfast.
- Gary & Carolyn F., Scotland – Very friendly service & good food. We really enjoyed our stay.
Friday, Jan. 20, 2006 – Bourgeois Gourmet Bill Spurr
“Fish and chips worth trip to Sheet Harbour”
Hostess Nancy Boutlier holds a plate of fish and chips at the Fairwinds restaurant in Sheet Harbour. The restaurant buys haddock fresh daily from a nearby fishery. Photo Peter Parsons/Staff)
IT SEEMED like a good omen when I walked into the Fairwinds Motel and Restaurant in Sheet Harbour and there were two Mounties sitting at a table. In a town this size, you can be sure the cops know where to get a good meal.
The Fairwinds was one of the places nominated by a reader when tasked for suggestions on where to find the best french fries in Nova Scotia. (More on that in coming weeks) So as I sat down I said to the waitress: “I’ve been told you have great home-cut fries” . “Well, they’re very good but they’re not homemade,” she said. promise: whenever the province’s best fries are named, they will behand-cut. Disappointed though I was to have driven all the way to Sheet Harbour only to be faced with frozen fries, I resolved to soldier on.
I observed both the gendarmes were eating fish and chips so I inquired: How’s the fish?” “Excellent,” came the reply, so I asked for a two-piece order.
The Fairwinds has 15 tables, and a few more out on the deck. It’s right on the water where the West River meets Sheet Harbour and the day I was then was beautiful and sunny, so the view was spectacular This would be one of the great places in the province to have a beer in the summer..
It was lunchtime when I was there so I wasn’t drinking, but I wandered over to the bar to check out the selection. Unaffected would be the word, I think. A variety of Oland’s and Moosehead beers, Bonded Stock Rye, Captain Morgan and Black Diamond rum and some other brands. On the walls of the restaurant are lots of pictures of sailing ships.
The menu lists seven selections under “seafood” and a dozen more under “meat,” things like roast beef and turkey dinner. I don’t recall seeing another menu with a “meat” section but I like it. The menu also offers escargot, which I think would make the Fair winds one of the very few establishments where you could order Bonded Stock to wash down your escargot.
When my food arrives, it is just as advertised. The fries are hot and crisp, and every bit as good as frozen fries can be. And the fish is indeed excellent. I wasn’t really as hungry as usual because I had a bit of an upset stomach from some smoky bacon flavoured Flickory Sticks I’d eaten in the car, but the fish was so good I was regretting not getting a three-piece order.
I asked and found out the Fairwinds gets fresh haddock daily from Abriel’s Fishery in Tangier, just down the road. And in a sign of real dedication, one of the restaurant’s owners drive all the way to Little Brook, Digby County, for the clams the restaurant erves, having decided they are superior to all others.
I passed on dessert, having been told the pie wasn’t homemade. Since it took me 42 years to get to Sheet Harbour for the first time, I’m not likely to become a regular. But if I find myself down that way in the summer, I’ll go to the Fairwinds, take a table on the deck and order a smash of Bonded Stock… But no escargot.
Bill Spurr is a features writer for The Chronicle Herald and The Sunday Herald