Erin’s day off in Steinbach, Part 1: Downtown

(Written a few days ago. It’s raining and cooler today!)

Let’s say you don’t live here at all, but want to come spend a day checking out the town — whoops, I mean, “city” — of Steinbach. What should you do? Where should you go? Or better yet, What Would Erin Do? WELL. Let me tell you! But I’m just gonna do it from memory while sitting here on my balcony as the day starts to really heat up.

This’ll be a 3-part series. First, Downtown Steinbach. Then, Greater Steinbach. Then, the Rural Municipality of Hanover.

Okay, let’s go!

If I had a day off, to myself, without access to a car, what would I do?

Breakfast at MJ’s Kafe. I prefer my eggs with jreeve (sp?) — you know, cracklings. And then lots of black coffee. Take a seat by the window if you can, so you can observe people beginning to arrive across the street at…

The MCC Thrift Store. I go here all the time. And then Andrew writes funny articles about it.

Then maybe I’ll wander through the back lanes. I have a circuit. (Follow the links here and you can probably figure out what it is!)

If it’s a weekday, I’d have to wait until 4:00 pm for The Public Brewhouse & Gallery to open, but if a Saturday, I could head there already at 12 noon. (They’re closed Sunday, Monday, Tuesday.) A flight is a fun choice, I think they have 7 different beers on tap at the moment. Their patio is fantastic with fun red umbrellas, lovely lights, and cornhole!

Take in a movie at Keystone Cinema. Get a kid’s pack (I like having a little bit of popcorn, small candy, and small drink because my bladder is also small, maybe that’s TMI). Claim a comfy armchair! Enjoy being out of the sun! And yes, they now take debit. Yay!

Pick up a coffee at Coffee Culture and wander over to the historic and beautiful Pioneer Cemetery. Sit under the old oak trees. Look at stones. Contemplate mortality.

Walk the length of Main Street to Old Church Bakery and Prairie Oils & Vinegars. These are two of my favourite shops in Steinbach and they’re right next to each other! Between the two you could obtain ingredients for a very nice picnic, if you wanted. OCB has the BEST sourdough bread and a great variety! (My favourite is Chocolate Cherry.) I often treat myself to a nice bar of artisanal chocolate from PO&V as well. If you’ve never been, you should check it out even just to enjoy the tasting room aspect. Very delicious!

Catch up with friend over a pint at Sawney Beans. They’re closed Sundays but I’ll forgive them. I love that I can easily get butter chicken at SB, and their north-facing patio is nicely shaded. (Fun fact: you can now have a nice little pub crawl in Steinbach, going back and forth between Sawney Beans and The Public which are essentially across the street from each other, and yes people have been known to do this.)

Main Bread & Butter. I stop here for a quick meal, soups and pastas are so great. And they have a lot of finer grocery items. Smart folks have been known to pick up a pack of Main B&B’s sausage rolls and bring them over to eat at The Public as they sip.

First Choice Convenience. A great place to pick up a squishy and then cross the street to…

KR Barkman Park, aka the gazebo park. ‘Tis the season, you’ll see a lot of weddings and family photo sessions happening here in summer. Do what you can to show up for as many of the concerts in the park, follow this link to see the schedule!

Ten Thousand Villages. You guys, TTV is closing at the end of August and I am devastated. It’s been one of the best parts of strolling Main Street Steinbach. If plan to be in Steinbach at all this summer, you should go before they’re gone! (Ugh, and yeah… there are deals now to be had. I’m just so sad.)

Pic N Pay Shoes. Do not be dissuaded from the name about paying. They carry so many great-looking shoes, and excellent brands my arthritic feet love. Plus their customer service is top notch!

Milieu Market. It’s right by the clock tower and it’s a refillery! Jules, the owner, researches relentlessly to bring in self-care, hygiene, and household products that are very luxurious and zero-waste. Inside you’ll also find terrific handmade items like earrings and pottery, and really cute gift items. (It’s a great place to find baby gifts, too!)

Chica’s Chicken. Andrew and I usually go to The Public, start drinking beer, realize we’re hungry, order Chica’s online, then I’ll walk over there solo to pick up our order while Andrew stays with our beers. I like a little walk down Main Street. He does not (I call him my Vampire Husband). That is why we do it that way. I’m always very happy to walk a bit! If you don’t know about Chica’s Chicken you should look them up — a very cool franchise, this is the first outside of Toronto I think, and their T.O. location has a Bib Gourmand (associated with the prestigious Michelin rating system). Their sandwiches are gigantic (in my opinion) and come cut in half — best shared. One sandwich is enough for Andrew and I. Plus when we’re at The Public we usually get a Bloom mix to share anyway.

What’s Bloom? Well, remember Golden Fried? They are no longer open. This is terrible news and it’s a good thing I remembered to tell you because that tempting sign is still there. Anyway, those culinary geniuses are still around, watch what they’re up to on Bloom’s IG. My friend Julie has an amazing mill just outside of town and makes this mix for sale only at The Public.

Sometimes when I’m at The Public and we’re running into a lot of people and don’t want to leave but haven’t eaten supper and are hungry I will just quickly order a pizza for delivery from Niakwa Pizza. My favourite is farmer sausage and back bacon.

Speaking of delivery, Curry Top Cafe is not a place you can visit but you CAN get delivery from them. Authentic East Indian cuisine, it’s soooooo good. Of course, you need a place Mitesh can deliver to. (May I suggest The Public?)

Another great trick for getting food at The Public is to just jaywalk to Giant Tiger and get whatever snacks you want. A friend once tossed a gigantic off-brand bag of chips on our table at the pub and we all just went to town on that. Hey, it works.

I’m not entirely sure what’s going on with Di Reggae Grill right now — sometimes they close for a bit and regroup. Keep an eye on them because if they’re open when you’re around, you’ll want their Jerk Chicken Poutine. Again, a great thing to have delivered to your table at The Public.

Sit alone at the window at The Public. Sometimes I like to bring a book to The Public and sit at the bar seating at the window and read but also watch the world go by while sipping a lager, coffee, and water. (Having three beverages in front of me at once is one of my preferred day-off indulgences.)

I’ve also been known to stop in at Doener Grill Express. I think people often go there for a Nutella crepe. I really like the schnitzel with mushroom sauce. It’s a massive order, so just be warned. When Steinbach has Burger Days, my favourite burger has been their smash burger but it’s not usually on the menu.

Okay one more! Muscle Matters and Body Care is in the Shoppers Plaza Mall, which is in our downtown, on Main Street. The perfect place to unwind on a day off! Or just shop around in their gift store.

Walk by Friesen Machine Shop. I’m pretty sure it’s the oldest building in Steinbach, it’s right downtown, the business has been in the Friesen family since 1898 I think the sign says. If you walk by while it’s open for business, stop in! It’s like a museum except it’s NOT a museum. SO COOL.

Since I’m posting this ahead of Summer in the City, I should tell you about that, in case you don’t know. Every year on Father’s Day weekend a massive festival moves into downtown Steinbach and it is incredible. Instead of traffic, we have a ferris wheel, rides, live music, stages, performances, food trucks, local cultures on display… local arts… okay I’m forgetting things now and am accidentally leaving things out. Whoops! It’s happening June 16-18 and details are here:

I keep thinking of things to add! But anyway as you can see, there are a lot of things I like to do to on my days off that keep me happily wandering around downtown Steinbach. But I do leave sometimes! I’ll tell you what I do in the Greater Steinbach Area in another post!