Who are we?
The Fat Sparrow Group is a carefully curated cluster of restaurants and food producers. Established in 2008 with the opening of Waterloo Region's premier farm to table restaurant, Uptown 21, by husband and wife team Nick and Nat Benninger.
Fat Sparrow quickly became a local hospitality powerhouse that includes Taco Farm, Marbles Restaurant, Jacob’s Grill, The Stone Crock Restaurant, a Butcher Shop, a Bakery, Fat Sparrow Catering, a wholesale foods division known as Fat Sparrow Foods and their latest addition, a northern jewel on the shores of Georgian Bay, Fat Sparrow at Killbear. Nick, Nat and the whole Fat Sparrow team are passionate about the food they make, the atmosphere they create and the experience they deliver.
What’s in a name?
For us, a lot! If you ever get the chance to ask Chef Nick, do so, you will not be disappointed. He could talk about Edna’s unique writing style and schnippled beans or liverwurst all afternoon. Edna Staebler was a local cookbook author and personal hero of more than one Fat Sparrow employee, her book "Food That Really Schmecks" is forever ingrained in the minds and hearts of plenty of local chefs, likely none more than Nick.
Edna’s recipes are for food lovers and confident cooks, not cooks on the run looking for something flashy. The term “slow food” may never ring truer than when describing Edna’s cuisine. Sensible, seasonal and genuine, food truly made from the heart, a cooking style that would very much shape Nick's approach to food. While we may stray from Waterloo Region classics, we stay true to the foundations of Edna’s teachings and we are better for it. The name Fat Sparrow is translated from a recipe for drop donuts, in German called "Fetschpatze", named for the bird-like shape they take upon hitting the hot oil. Edna claims to have once eaten 9, we are confident Chef Nick would easily double that number dunking in amber maple syrup all the way!
How are we different from the competition?
Chef Nick is revered for his whimsical menus, recipes and artisanship; his hands-on approach sees him contribute and direct the culinary program across all our platforms using ingredients supplied by local farmers and vendors.
Fat Sparrow does not have to look far for a source of inspiration. By drawing on the legacy of, and paying homage to Kitchener native Edna Staebler, Chef Nick continues to deliver an authentic experience with food that truly ‘schmecks’.
We use local, high-quality ingredients to handcraft memorable meals, even when that is not the cheapest or most convenient way of doing things. The Fat Sparrow team not only understands the value of using high-quality local food; Chef Nick is also informed and knowledgeable about food sustainability. This knowledge contributes to Fat Sparrow’s authenticity as a source of credible information, and will engage both “conscious consumers,” as well as connoisseurs of gourmet food and fine dining.
Check out these videos for fun!
Join the hosts nobody asked for as they make their way across our region, and visit our most celebrated spots and hidden treasures.
Nick and Taylor talk to the people behind these culinary landmarks, and dive into the impact they have on our local community.