When Baked and Battered reopens in the spring, it will have rebranding to go along with its new owners.

The mother and son team of Veronica VanLeeuwen and Taylor Pridham are taking over the popular Haliburton eatery from Craig Gordon and Colby Marcellus.

The two hail from the Collingwood area but have cottaged on Little Redstone Lake for 13 years so know the iconic business well.

“We’re very familiar with the location, quality of food, the great service and the friendly staff and the feel of this,” VanLeeuwen said.

“When we saw the listing, it brought up excitement right away. It was like what a fabulous fit. It was a place we both loved and haven’t lived full-time so that crossed all the T’s and dotted all the I’s. It was instantaneous.”

The two say they share a love of the restaurant industry and have worked together in the past. Pridham said, “we’ve always got along well.” VanLeeuwen added “We argue well. It’s a healthy conversation.”

Pridham went to Fanshawe College to study hotel and resort management and has worked in the field for 11 years. VanLeeuwen has worked at a variety of self-employed businesses, most recently a restaurant franchise she sold. During COVID, Pridham said it gave them both time to reset, reevaluate and “see this amazing opportunity and jump on it while we can.”

The two said they were grateful that Gordon and Marcellus were so generous with their time.

“I think our focus wasn’t so much about learning the industry,” said VanLeeuwen. “[It was about] how well they’ve done in the community and what everybody loves about this place because we’ve always heard such good feedback and so we just wanted to really get to know what it was that made everybody love it.”

Pridham said “it’s been great becoming part of the community and getting to know everybody the last few weeks.”

The two have been thinking about how they will make the restaurant their own while ensuring they keep the things the clientele loves.

Pridham said that means maintaining a lot of the menu items “with some more tastier dishes we’d like to bring as well.”

VanLeeuwen said they will be letting go of the bakery – “Colby is tough competition to follow” – hence the need for rebranding. They plan to offer breakfast, lunch and dinner, and are hoping to get a liquor license.

They are closed for the season and plan to do some renovations. Once they reopen in the spring, they hope to become year-round. They added a lot of staff have expressed an interest in staying on.

Meanwhile, Gordon and Marcellus called it a day Oct. 10.

“It’s very bittersweet because it’s been almost a decade,” Gordon said. “The community has been great to us. But we’re getting a little bit older and we’re going to pass it on to people who are far younger than me.”

“And energetic … I couldn’t be more excited,” Marcellus added.

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