One of our favourite things to do when we travel is to taste the local cuisine of where we are visiting. Since there are so many restaurants downtown that we have never tried we thought why not take a Kingston Food Tour.
Kingston Food Tours is a locally owned business that takes you to various locally owned restaurants in the downtown core. All of the restaurants adhere to FLOSS (fresh, local, organic, seasonal and sustainable). It is roughly a 2.5 hour walk while enjoying the combination of food tastings along with breaks for architectural, cultural, and historical insight.
We knew accessibility was going to be an issue, due to the historic buildings most of the places were located in. We did bring our own portable ramp, which proved to be not only cumbersome to walk around with but did not help at most of the non-accessible stops. The stops that we were told ahead of time that were not accessible had too many steps to even make use of the ramp. I have described the stops below and their accessibility and how the tour company and the food tour partner worked to make the tour inclusive for us. I will not be commenting on the food samples at each location because they were all fantastic.
Dianne’s Fish Shack and Smokehouse – Easy level access in to the restaurant. Washrooms are downstairs so not accessible. Great table heigh for a wheelchair user to easily roll under.
Pan Chancho – This stop was one I would not consider accessible. The food tasting takes place up a couple stairs. We tried a recommended work around, which consisted of going through to the patio and then in a back door to the kitchen. We then had to make our way through the kitchen to join the group. It did work out but if the patio was busy or if it was raining or if it was snowing it would be a no go. I would ask that someone just bring a dessert sample down to the store area of the bakery next time. Much easier.
Kingston Olive Oil Company – the store has a small lip which we thought we could get over with a power chair but we could not. We had to use our portable ramp. There is a ground floor washroom but it was not large enough to make it accessible.
General Brock Commissary – Not accessible and too many steps for a portable ramp. General Brock did come outside and make his presentation to the group so we were included. They did bring the samples out to us as others in the group looked around inside. This stop would only work if it was a nice day that you could stay outside.
Atomica – This was probably our favourite stop based on accessibility and honestly the food (donair pizza) was life changing lol. Not only was the entrance accessible but the washroom was accessible as well. The restaurant is a bit small so some wheelchair navigating is required to get around the tables if you needed to use the washroom.
Olivea – We have eaten at Olivea before so we knew the entrance would be accessible via a ramp. It is quite steep so a manual chair user may need some assistance getting up. They do have their own portable ramp so you just need to have the tour guide request it. The bathroom is downstairs so not accessible.
Tango – The entrance is accessible but the washrooms are not accessible (downstairs).
The Common Market – Not accessible and too many steps for a portable ramp. They did offer to let us try the back door but after doing that at the previous stop we declined. At this stop it is a sample of coffee so we took ours out front while the group participated inside. This is another stop that would not be suitable in bad weather.
Mio Gelato – Not accessible and due to steps could not use portable ramp. The tour guide brought our Gelato samples out to us. Another stop that would not be suitable in bad weather.
Overall, we had a great time even though several stops were not accessible. I think if it was a nice day and you don’t care about actually going inside then I would definitely recommend. The tour guide Jessica was fantastic and we learned so much that we did not know about our city.