Some people travel from as far as Texas and California to visit Canal House Station Café & Restaurant in Milford. Why? Because they’re eager to taste the recipes of Melissa Hamilton and Christopher Hirsheimer. These chefs, who co-own Canal House, are also well known cookbook authors and food bloggers.
“It’s a great pleasure to be bringing our food to life for our customers,” says Hamilton. For those who simply happen upon Canal House Station, however, they get a double surprise; “It’s like they have two discoveries in one—our restaurant and our cookbooks,” she says.
Both Hamilton and Hirsheimer write about home cooking, and have been working together for more than 20 years. In 2007, the self-taught cooks and food industry vets founded Canal House; the business includes a publishing branch as well as a culinary, photography, and design studio.
Cooking With Canal House
The duo are James Beard award winners for their cookbook, Canal House Cooks Every Day; Their latest cookbook, Canal House: Cook Something: Recipes to Rely On, aims to teach cooking basics to empower new learners. They also blog at Canal House Cooks Lunch, where readers can find ideas for what to cook every day.
The duo sees Canal House Station as the next natural step in their growth as a business. Since they already had a small studio in Frenchtown to work on their latest cookbook, they looked nearby for options. Then they came across some space in a nearly 150-year-old stone train station. “It came to us,” says Hamilton. “We honored our calling with this space.”
Though the inside of an old train station may not sound cozy, the locale has a comfy feel; with an open kitchen and wood-burning fireplace to match the lovely old wood and exposed beams. The BYOB restaurant seats 49 indoors and 12 on the outdoor porch. In addition, old-style wallpaper, grey colors, and paintings adorn the walls. “It’s a perfect fit for this historic building,” Hamilton says.
An Award-Winning Menu
As for the food, the menu changes both seasonally and often, but always brings their cookbook recipes to life. Breakfast can range from avocado toast to an apple and bacon omelet. On Saturdays, you may be lucky enough to catch an endless pile of buttermilk pancakes; with Irish butter, real meal syrup, and crisp bacon slices, of course. Lunch options include fried chicken on a brioche bun with an egg and a green salad.
“Right now we’re just reacting to the produce,” Hamilton says about the menu. “We go out and see what’s available and we figure out what to do with it.” Click here to see their sample menu.
Sundays are extra special, as they serve a mid-day Sunday dinner. The idea is not a brunch, but rather recreates those Sunday dinners where families get together and connect. Much like the other menus, this prix-fix, four-or five-course meal (plus tax and tip) rotates. During the fall, for example, one menu offers carrot ginger soup to start. Meanwhile, the main course features roast duck legs with parsnip-apple puree and roasted honeycrisp apples. The meal then ends with chocolate-ginger cake and hazelnut ice cream.
Visit Canal House Station at 2 Bridge Street in Milford. The spot serves breakfast and lunch on Wednesdays and Saturdays, then dinner on Sunday from Noon to 4:00 pm. Visit the website for more info, or give them a call.