Kelsey's in Collingwood has been around for a long time in its First Street - a main artery through town - location. This restarurant, occupying an historic building (which used to be a mill, I think) has seen menu changes and staff changes; much as one might expect from an ever-evolving restaurant.
I once did a count of restaurants in Collingwood and area and concluded that this tourism-oriented town of 19,500 population has more restaurants per-capita than most small towns.
This is good for locals and residents alike since it presents tremendous variety to anybody with an appetite.
Kelsey's in Collingwood is a roadhouse-style restaurant, perhaps a tiny touch more pricey than some roadhouse-type restaurants, but worth the visit.
My wife Nancy and I ate there on January 25th,visiting the restaurant in the evening for dinner.
You will find ample parking in a large lot behind the Kelsey's and there are stairs to climb to get to the front door and entrance area.
Immediately upon arrival we were greeted in friendly manner and asked if we would like to go upstairs (more stairs) or dine on the main floor. The upstairs has been renovated and there is nothing wrong with going there, butr we opted to stay on then main floor. There you can choose from either table, or booth-type seating. We chose a booth.
At that booth we recognized the "plus" that I mentioned in the title. The plus is in the photographs which decorate the walls at Kelsey's in Collingwood. The photographs shows scenes that are tied to Collingwood's history. Some of the large prints came from the Collingwood Museum (also worth a visit).
The photograph on the wall by our booth showed the old Craigleith trainstation. Once upon a time, trains carried skiers to this station and from there the skiers were transported to nearby Blue Mountain.
If you wander around a little bit while waiting for your order to come, you can learn a lot about Collingwood and area from the photographs. Until 1986, Collingwood's main industry was shipbuilding with its unique sidelaunches. that's reflected in some of the photos. Interesting.
Nancy ordered chicken fingers with fries and coleslaw. I ordered the seafood lover's special, along with a caesar salad.
Jennifer was our server and she was constantly vigilant, from taking our drink order and welcoming us soon after we were seated. She flitted back and forth to ensure that we were happy with our food and also to provide drink refills, as necessary.
Jennifer's excellent service was consistent with the service we have experienced from other servers at Kelsey's in Collingwood.
Nancy's order was fine and because of its size we asked for - and were happily given - a "doggie box" to take the remainder home.
I wolfed down my seafood special enjoying the variety of seafood morsels which were embedded in the pasta. It was very tasty, so I finished it. The caesar salad was delicious too. Frankly, my dinner serving could have fed us both. But I was hungry!
Restaurants in Collingwood bloom with visitors who come (by the thousands) to ski at nearby Blue Mountain Resorts. So during an excellent ski season - or conversely a terrific summer - restaurants throughout the area do well because of the large volume of visitors.
The really good restaurant operators understand that they need to have local diners frequenting their establishments to round out the slower (in terms of tourist numbers) seasons.
Kelsey's in Collingwood does an excellent job of looking after patrons, whether they are locals or visitors.
The menu, either for lunch, or for dinner, is varied....so one should be able to find somethin g to suit all tastes.
I did find the piped-in music a touch loud, but I'm a senior citizen and the volume might be fine for younger (party-type) folks.Really, not a problem and it did not deter us from enjoying our meals.
We have been to this restaurant with groups and they have always done an excellenty job.
The washrooms (toilets) are downstairs in this Kelsey's building. For people who have trouble with stairs this might not be a good thing. On the upstairs level, if I remember correctly, there are washrooms there just off that dining room.
I noticed on this Kelsey's outdoor sign that they are open until midnight.
If you're visiting Collingwood during the spring, summer or autumn months, it is handy to know that First Street, where Kelsey's of Collingwood is located, parallels Harbourview Park to the north (behind) the restaurant.
There is free parking at the east end and west end of Harbourview Park, at the north ends of Birch Street and Hickory Street. This means that you can hike through Harbourview Park, which fronts Collingwood Harbour. There are 50 kilometres of bicycle/hiking trails in Collingwood free of charge to use. One of the off-shoot trails links Harbourview Park and First Street running right next to Kelsey's of Collingwood. You can get free trail maps at a nu,mber of locations.
so there are many pluses to setting your dining sights - for lunch, or dinner, on Kelsey's of Collingwood.
As we left after dinner Robyn Waugh general manager, guest experience, said hello and thanked us for coming in. I don't know her, but asked who she was as we were leaving. Then, I picked up her business card for future reference.
Nancy and I will continue to be patrons even though there are slightly cheaper places to eat in Collingwood and area.....and...to be fair...some that are more upscale and proportionately more expensive.
As I said, there's a lot of selection in Collingwood and Kelsey's more than holds its own in this culinary contest.