Why Keep London Local? Because staff have worked at Michael’s On The Thames for over thirty years. “I couldn’t do it without the team here. They are the backbone of this place.” – Joelle Lees, Owner and Operator

The award-winning downtown dining establishment, Michael’s on the Thames has had a delightful transformation. Gone is the traditional yellow oak interior from the eatery’s early days in the 1980’s. The recent renovation brings a soothing vibe with the addition of elegantly painted walls, warm lighting and custom artwork by local artist Steve Tracy. Along with the change in décor, a business casual dress code has replaced the formal dinner jacket.  

A seat in the patio section presents a view of the Thames River cascading by in one of the city’s most idyllic and romantic settings. This stunning vantage point secures Michael’s on the Thames as a top-of-the-list favourite for many couples and family celebrations. 

Owner and operator Joelle Lees bought the restaurant five years ago after working as a loyal staff member herself. With over thirty years of food and beverage experience, Lees saw the potential to revamp the much-loved restaurant. “I couldn’t do it without the team here. They are the backbone of this place.” Lees is quick to mention that four staff have stayed working at the eatery for over thirty years. 

“Plan to be here for a two-hour experience.” Lees says. Not an issue for the traditional crowd, however younger patrons are discovering and learning to appreciate a slower paced dining experience as well. “They are putting away their phones for intimate dinner conversations.”

It’s heartfelt praise from loyal diners that have kept the staples on the menu. Enjoy the renowned table side Caesar Salad, Chateaubriand, Filet Diane, escargot and Cherries Jubilee. The kitchen changes up the menu to add a twist each season. 

Recently, the restaurant added the “Out Back Shack” where guests can walk up to the gazebo and order anything from a Rack of Ribs and Buttermilk Chicken dinners to a Philly Cheese Steak sandwich or their delicious ‘Big Chicken’ sandwich.  With the nicer weather we’ve had, it’s been a welcome change and has drawn more people out to pick up their dinners.

A printed photo of Michael's On The Thames staff and family is held up in front of the restaurant.
Courtesy of Joelle Lees

Michael’s on the Thames is a lively place. Birthday parties and engagements are common.  Weddings take place inside the restaurant with pictures taken at the park across the street. Guests return to the dining room for the reception with a beautiful grand piano, where the jazz trio plays, and a capacity for 160 guests. It’s hard to imagine a more intimate downtown location for such memorable events.

“Jazz on the Thames” has been a huge hit for a wide demographic that meets on Thursday nights. The main floor of the restaurant transforms into Jazz Lounge from 6:30 to 9:30pm. Patrons are welcome to come in for drinks, appetizers or a full dinner and sway to live music. Guests are also welcome to leave their car in the restaurant parking lot and enjoy the short walk to any event downtown.

During Covid-19 restrictions, Michael’s on the Thames made quick adjustments to create an inviting outdoor patio in their parking lot and to provide curbside pickup and delivery as the Dining Room is currently closed. 

Contact them at (519)672-0111 x1 to reserve your seat and check out their menu at www.michaelsthethames.com

Want to learn more about other local businesses? Our Stories section is updated every week as part of our Keep London Local campaign. Thank you for continuing to support the London community. #KeepLondonLocal