Nestled between Woodstock and Stratford is the loving little village of Tavistock, home to one of Oxford County’s best restaurants. Of course I’m speaking of Quehl’s (pronounced like the bird Quail). Delicious meals since 1931!
Prior to Quehl’s taking residence in the building, it was used as a piano dealership and a farm machinery sales office. Another use for the space was a car showroom operated by Andrew Baechler. It just goes to show that when you have a good thing, it stays for a while and Quehl’s Restaurant is just that item. Although the Restaurant has changed hands over the years, the idea of serving the community the best possible food has remained.
The restaurant was started in 1931 by Old Joe Steinman and he aptly named it “Joe’s Place”. It began as a lunch counter, tobacco shop and barber shop. Joe had a son Clarence “Hap” Steinman who joined him in 1946 and together they incorporated the bowling lanes, which were located at the rear of the restaurant, into the facilities now used for banquets.
Through a partnership formed in 1959 between “Hap” and Les Rogers the name was changed to “Les & Haps”. After Les’s retirement in 1972 and Hap’s selling the business, to his nephew Joe Steinmen, the name was returned to “Joe’s Place” until it was purchased by Bill Quehl in 1981.
Upon purchasing the restaurant, Bill closed down the bowling alley, used the solid oak lanes to form many of the dining tables and renovated the original dining area to what is present today. At this time he also acquired the 40 year old catering business from his grandmother, Ruby.
Another major renovation was done when in 1987; Ruth and Steve Cahill purchased the restaurant and neighboring buildings including the Weicker’s butcher shop and the Weicker House. The restaurant had new owners, but the name Quehl’s remained the same. In order to have a capacity to seat 250 guests, the neighboring buildings were joined together with the original building, by inclosing the alleyway that ran between the restaurant and the Weicher butcher shop. In 1993 a new partnership was formed with the current owners, Cindy and Brian Larson, and together, until the Cahill’s retirement in 1996, continued in the tradition of exceptional customer service.
Quehl’s has always maintained that small home town quality in everything they do. Respect for each owner, and their contributions in making this restaurant what it is today, is evident in the names of each dining room. There is the “Old Joe’s Room, Ruby Quehl Room, Weicker Room and the “Les & Hap’s Room” each unique and reflective of a bygone era.
As you enter the building’s main entrance be sure to look for the grooves made by the hub of the wheels scraping against the brick from the horse drawn wagons rounding the corner to the barn. At the turn of the century, the alley way, now the main entrance, is what once led you to the rear barns for the Weickers butcher shop. Interesting!
Great food is not the only thing Quehl’s is known for, it is also known for being somewhat of a Museum, with artifacts from the Tavistock area. Some items dating back more than a century!
Success of the restaurant isn’t the only thing Quehl’s has to brag about, their catering business is heading into its 60th year! Sixty years of amazing recipes, many of them still used today. No event is too small or too large for Quehl’s to cater, they have catered events as large as 5,500 guests. Now that’s some accomplishment! On average, in the past 10 years Quehl’s has served 150,000 meals a year. That’s a lot of meals!
With such close proximity to live Theatres, large motor coach tours have made dining at Quehl’s one of the favorite ways to begin or end an evening out.
Any successful business knows that you must adapt and Quehl’s is no exception. With the changing food diets of people, Quehl’s has come up with an Eat Smart menu, Gluten Free items, is Smoke Free and Allergy conscious. So accommodating any dietary requirement is not a problem for their kitchen staff.
As the years have rolled on and changes have been made, each owner has been meticulous in recording these changes. As you enjoy your meal, take a moment to look at all the pictures on the walls, they tell a story rich in the history of Quehl’s and the village of Tavistock. You’ll find yourself comparing past and present events. A reminder of the past is skillfully reflected in the railway motif and the models of vintage cars.
Step back in time when comfort food was normal, community meant everyday involvement and customer service was doing that little bit extra. Visit Quehl’s today for breakfast, lunch or dinner and experience great food, great hospitality and a warm welcome!
Quehl’s of Tavistock
33 Woodstock St. South
Tavistock, ON 519-655-2835
Posted By: Debbie Solta, Cultural Events Coordinator