HOITO is a Finnish restaurant in Thunder Bay that was started to give the Finnish-immigrant Lumberjacks a cheap place to eat on their breaks from slaving away in the forest. Though everyone talks about how you MUST go to the Hoito when visiting Thunder Bay I would also keep in mind it’s basically a greasy spoon in a basement.
Personally I love the kind of restaurant that hasn’t changed in 30 years – you can still eat at the bar! (Side note: do they still call a counter a bar if they don’t serve alcohol?).
They have various foreign-sounding Finnish dishes but I opted for the pancakes. I had heard they don’t serve real maple syrup (maybe there are no maple trees in Finland) so I opted for the fruit dressing (I’m a big syrup snob). The fruit topping is homemade so it’s a good choice.
The pancakes are actually more like crepes than pancakes – in Finnish style. They were awesome.
Thunder Bay has a lot of Finnish influence. There are Finnish stores and spas everywhere – I don’t think it’s bad thing. If you’re looking for dinner or drinks the Madhouse is just down the street from the Hoito and is an offbeat pub with lots of interesting mixed drinks. Note the Finnish bookstore in the background.