Being named the top bicycle-friendly café in the region has pumped up the tires of the owners of Molly’s Bistro Bakery as they deal with the economic downtown that’s ridden in with COVID-19.
Explore Ontario By Bike! wrote up Molly’s as a favourite among the two-wheel set.
Molly McInerny, who owns the Minden restaurant along with Guy Dumas, said it was a bit of good news during the pandemic.
“It was nice to be chosen as the best in this region,” McInerny said on May 22. She said she sent a write-up to the bicycling publication, detailing their experience with bicycle clubs coming to their establishment.
She said she often jokes with cyclists when they come, saying she is going to call the Ontario Provincial Police to say, “I think there’s a bike gang.”
She added, “I do offer them a ride home every time they come. I never understand why they’re riding a bike.”
She said they get a lot of cyclists who ride in, have a food or beverage break, and then head back out on the road. She added the riders reflect all age groups.
“A lot of them come in and park their bikes. Some sit at the picnic tables out front to get the sun. Some come in to get the shade.”
McInerny said the Haliburton Highlands does offer good cycling, ranging from challenging to relaxing, and there is some beautiful scenery along the way.
She said even with the coronavirus, bicycling is a good social distancing sport and people can still drop by for takeout.
The distinction is a boost during a difficult time, she said, and the publicity “will help once people aren’t afraid to go out.”
She said their takeaway business “has not been stellar” and is probably down 80 per cent. However, she said their pre-cooked freezer meals and desserts remain popular and have been keeping them going.
“I’m hoping by the 29th (of May) Dougie (Premier Doug Ford) might be hungry.”
She hopes the Province of Ontario will allow restaurants to reopen to sit-down customers. The Province, though, has extended closures to June 9.
For now, McInerny said, “there just isn’t the business. The long weekend featured some of the slowest days since this started, since public health officials and politicians told people to bring food with them and stay where they are. And, yet, we have had no new cases of COVID-19 in Haliburton County. If people behave, we should be allowed to reopen. This is our livelihood. I want to make sure it continues.
“We would make sure our customers are safe. Before the shutdown, every other table was closed off. If people come together in a group, they are likely a family unit. The only people at risk are my staff, not my customers.”