Mexican food and Mexican Mennonite food in southwestern [Ontario], including Aylmer, Simcoe, Leamington , Kingsville and elsewhere

This is a trip planning post.

Aylmer has at least 4 Mexican Mennonite establishments. I haven’t visited yet.

I’m intrigued by some of the menus. I will post as I visit.

Menu from The Gordita Shop / La Cocina (La Cocina is more visible from the street) in Aylmer, Ontario.

Menu from The Stockyard Cafe in Aylmer, Ontario.

Mennomex’s menu seems to be 5 years out of date. Mennomex is often recommended for its breakfast burrito.

Greta’s Taco Wagon in Aylmer has run into red tape so it hasn’t opened yet.

There is a taco truck at Port Bruce south of Aylmer called M & D’s Taco Truck


I also plan to check out some Mexican Mennonite restaurants and other Mexican restaurants further west, closer to Leamington and Kingsville.

Cancunsito in Leamington

Salsa Caliente in Leamington

El Diablo in Kingsville, Mexican Asian fusion


My wife is Mennonite and we didn’t know these places existed. Mennonites started off in what is now the Netherlands and then spread in to Germany. Many then headed east into Ukraine and Russia (hence the borscht, pierogi/varenika, cream gravy - “schmant” fat, more typically written as schmaundt). After being kicked out of Russia, they then moved to North America. Some went on to Mexico, Central, and South America. Some of these people, particularly Mexican Mennonites, then moved back to Canada, particularly southwestern Ontario.

The chicken noodle soup should be good. My father-in-law, of Russian Mennonite background, recalls fondly the chicken noodle soup made by his relatives in Mexico and Belize. Mennonite farmer sausage is also great, usually just featuring pork and lots of smoke. It is a key ingredient in summer borscht, which usually features sausage, potato, and lots of sorrel, dill, and green onion, finished with buttermilk or cream (I grow sorrel specifically to make it).

I’m very curious about how the Mennonites have taken on Mexican dishes and flavours. Looking forward to your reports.


Growing up in southwestern Ontario, with frequent visits to St Jacob’s and Kitchener, and an interest in all things Germanic and Eastern European, I have had quite a bit of experience with some German Mennonite foods, and more Russian Mennonite foods.

I also own sone cookbooks.

I suppose we mostly have purchased the pies.

Half my own family descends from Austria - Hungary, not far from where the Russian Mennonites lived in the Old Country, so many of the Russian Mennonite, as well as Hutterite foods, are similar to what half my ancestors were eating

I also visited the Mennonite museum in Steinbach, Manitoba, which is especially interesting if you ever find yourself in Manitoba. We enjoyed some restaurants in Manitoba.

A lot of Mexican Mennonites live near Aylmer, St Thomas, Simcoe and along Lake Erie.

The most recent Mexican Mennonite immigrants have come to Canada from Sonora and Chihuahua since the drug wars and poverty have made life in northern Mexico unpleasant for many people.

I will report back as I try new places!

When I glance at the menus of Mexican Mennonite restaurants with online menus, the menu options look simpler, with less choices than restaurants run by typically Catholic Mexicans running taco shops.

I am seeing less green sauces available, and the filling for the enchiladas at the 3 places in Aylmer was ground beef. I’m an enchilada fan, and I was on the hunt for chicken enchiladas with green sauce or chicken enchiladas suizas yesterday, which do not seem to be made by the Mexican Mennonites in Aylmer. :rofl: What I’m seeking is sort of more Tex Mex / Mexicali/ Mexican American, maybe dated Mexican American (circa 1960-2000) and the new spots in Toronto run by mostly Catholic Mexicans direct from Mexico also don’t tend to serve it .

I am also curious to try the Mexican summer borscht because the description looks nothing like regular Mennonite borscht or regular Ukrainian/ Polish/ Russian borscht.


La Tienda Mexican Grocer & Take-Out in Milverton, Ontario
(519) 595-3727

The Tamale Girl in the St Jacob’s Farmers’ Market
(905) 626-7431

Pedros Mart Inc. in Eden, Ontario
(226) 352-1775

Amiga’s Bistro in Simcoe, owned by a Mexican Mennonite family

Lily’s Tacos in Simcoe ( which has a patio )
(519) 428-3097

2023-06-11 (1)

Andale Tortilleria in Simcoe


You are right that European Mennonite dishes are similar to Central and Eastern European dishes in general. Commonly Mennonite borscht is based on beef, cabbage, potatoes, and dill, so quite similar to some other versions. Summer borscht is also European Mennonite in origin, though I haven’t seen it on menus in Mennonite restaurants. Try it and see what you think.


In High German and in Yiddish, the equivalent word is schmaltz .


I have tried Russian summer borschts, and green borscht made of sorrel.

I had a long borscht thread running on CH. :wink: I try almost every borscht, shchi (Russian Cabbage Soup), beet and/or cabbage soup that crosses my path.


(& @DrJohn ) One of my oldest and closest friends is Japanese and a Mennonite. I was floored when I met him in the late 90s as I never expected to meet a Mennonite in Japan of all places. When he still lived at home with his parents, he was VERY devout and rather fundamentalist. He stayed with me in Glendale, CA (a suburb of LA) for several months and insisted on going to church every Sunday. There’s no Mennonite church in Glendale, but we found a Lutheran church to his liking and he went there every Sunday without fail. He persuaded me to join him a few times, but since I was raised a Jew, it felt wrong to me and after going with him a few times, I successfully explained to him that it was better for me and the other church members to not attend. When I took him to Las Vegas to meet my mother and sister, he also insisted on attending church and we found him one.

He now lives in Bangkok with a Thai wife and their 2 kids. There’s no Mennonite church for him to attend there and he joined a evangelical church for Japanese members there. As his wife and her family aren’t Christian, he got out of the habit of attending church weekly, but when I visited him for one month in December, we all attended that church just before Christmas. That church is quite fundamentalist and I felt quite out of place and TBH, hypocritical to be attending. Everyone was kind to me, however.

Here’s more about Mennonites in Japan. And my apologies for straying so far from the topic.,Conference%20of%20Mennonite%20Brethren%20Churches).


When I visited the Mennonite Heritage Village, the Mennonite Museum in Steinbach, it was quite amazing to see how many Mennonite communities are found around the world.

I had quite a few Mennonite classmates in Calgary, and some staff at the university were Mexican Mennonites.


Interesting that both places you mention have milanesa but served with tortillas instead of as a sandwich. And the first place bakes them, which seems a contradiction in terms.
Also interesting that they include stuff that’s completely non-Mexican like pirogies and breakfast dishes.
I don’t believe there are Mennonite-Mexican places in the plains states but now I’m going to investigate. :slight_smile:
Side bar:


They moved from Europe to Canada to Mexico and back to Canada, so that explains why they still eat varenika/ vranekas/ vareneky/ perogies.

My grandparents left Europe 100 years ago and I still eat perogies, too.

I will find you a Mexican Mennonite restaurant somewhere in the States. A few must have chosen the States over Canada!

The Milanesa refers to the breaded cutlet, so it can be in a Torta or with tortillas. I have send Milanesa in non -Torta applications here in Canada.

And really, the Milanesa is a Schnitzel, so the Mennonites were making it before they got to Mexico.


Oh, I understand. I can barely find a Milanesa here where we’re flush with mexi places. I was longing.
We are almost devoid of Eastern European foods here which I’m sad about too.


Interesting. We have German speaking descendants of Anabaptists who emigrated to the States in 1874, but here in Montana they are Hutterites. Very similar religion to the Mennonites, I think. They live in communes and sell pork and eggs outside their communes but stay out of town most days. They do not tend to have cafes for outsiders, though I think they have markets at some of the colonies.
My Mom and Step-Dad got snowed in a few years ago and the Springwater Colony sent some guys over with a tractor to plow my parents road to the highway. I have seen them use horse drawn carriages and tractors. Interesting combo. Maybe they use carriages for personal use and only use internal combustion engines/tractors for agriculture? I never saw them come into Harlowton, so I am not sure.
I hung out with some Hutterite guys that went to EMC back in the 1980’s. One got married and stayed in Billings but most went back to their colonies. No drama, apparently.
I will have to ask my Step-Dad if there are any Hutterite cafes in our part of Montana.


there are many Hutterities and Mennonites where I grew up in Manitoba. The Hutterites lead a more separate life, and do live in colonies. My brother often sees women from the colonies at his Costco in Winnipeg: there is a characteristic look. “Women Talking” really nails it. Also a large Mennonite population there, and a whole bible belt. I have seen more traditional Mennonite women at farmer’s markets west of Toronto… but not Mexican Mennonites!


You might have seen some Mexican Mennonites in St Jacob’s. They look the same as the Mennonites in St Jacobs that didn’t leave. The people in the next generation or 2 who have returned to Ontario and the Prairies over the past 30 years haven’t intermarried too much. :slight_smile:

It looks like most Mennonites who live in colonies are located in Pennsylvania, Ohio, sw Kansas, Illinois.

@zivbnd, in addition to what @rstuart mentioned, there are also quite a few Mennonite and Hutterite colonies in Saskatchewan and Alberta, as well as in Manitoba.

There are also many Mennonites who are less strict who live in the city. They are some Mennonite boarding schools in the Prairies, too.

As with other religions, there are various streams and orders, and a spectrum from the most conservative to least conservative.

(My cousin’s wife has a bunch of Hutterite ladies selling Tupperware under her in the Grand Tupperware Pyramid of one of the Prairie provinces.)


@TokushimaCook Interesting about the Mennonite Brethren Conference in Japan, of which I was unaware. I knew they had presence in Korea.

For awhile, the largest growing conference of Mennonites was in Ethiopia - no sure if it still is.

As noted above, there is a wide range of Mennonite practice. Some are very traditional and live largely separately. Some are very integrated (my wife and many of her relatives). And there is a spectrum in-between.


Slightly off topic, I was astounded to see the presence of a fairly sizable Ethiopian population here in Las Vegas! There are a good many Ethiopian shops and restaurants…enough so of those businesses and population that there’s an official Little Ethiopia neighborhood. I’d never seen Ethiopian writing before and for a brief moment confused it with Thai!


It’s beautiful script, isn’t it?
Toronto has 2 Ethiopian neighborhoods now.

Ethiopia has some interesting hybrid foods as a result of its history. Ethiopian Spaghetti!


It’s a very interesting script to be sure! I’ve never had Ethiopian food, but I’m not that adventurous in trying new ethnic foods.

A former student who lived in Africa working for the Japanese equivalent of the Peace Corps said that one of the most well-known Ethiopian dishes, injera, was inedible for her. And that says a lot coming from someone quite open minded about ethnic foods.

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