By Vivian Collings
The wait is over.
Hook, Line & Sinker is now open for business, and the Haliburton community’s overwhelming excitement far exceeded the expectations of owners Taylor Pridham and Veronica VanLeeuwen.
After only four full days of being open, the new restaurant closed for one extra day on Sunday, Jan. 29 to have time to restock and will be back on Wednesday, Feb. 1.
“It’s a good problem to have,” laughed Pridham. “We weren’t anticipating the amount of support and how long people have been waiting to come in the door.”
The newly-renovated spot at 126 Highland Street has already proved to be a central space in the community that encourages connection.
“It seems like a lot of old friends are coming here to get together already,” Pridham said. “It’s a lot of fun. Seeing this place actually filled with people was every bit as good as I imagined it could have been. We’re pretty thrilled with everybody’s reaction.”
The mother/son duo is originally from Creemore, a town in Simcoe County smaller than Haliburton.
“I’m definitely used to smaller towns and wanted an outdoor lifestyle after attending school in the city. After cottaging as a family here for 15 years, we realized we’d much rather be here all of the time,” Pridham said.
They were on the lookout for a new business venture, with VanLeeuwen having always been an entrepreneur and Pridham having years of restaurant experience under his belt.
“We were quite familiar with this location because we were frequents at Baked and Battered. When we saw it come up for sale, we knew we could combine our two career paths perfectly,” Pridham said.
The inspiration for Hook, Line & Sinker’s design came from other restaurants that have inspired them over the years.
They worked with PT Contracting, Bukhari Design, and local contractors to help make their vision come to life.
“When my mom stumbled across Baked and Battered, we thought about it for a while and weighed the ups and downs, and then we finally just said, ‘We’re in it, hook, line and sinker,’ and right away we said, ‘Yup, that’s the name. We’re all in,” Pridham said.
Pridham and VanLeeuwen came into possession of the space in Sept. 2021, so the restaurant has been in the works for a year and a half to make sure all details were ironed out before opening.
Hook, Line & Sinker currently has 35 staff members. They hope to increase that number in the summer months when their patio opens to seat 45 more guests.
“We’ve had some of the most patient staff that we hired on about a year ago. We couldn’t be more thankful for the individuals we have taken on as a team. We’re really grateful for all the people we have aboard,” he said.
To start their new staff off slowly, they decided to do a quiet opening on Wednesday, Jan. 25 to avoid an overwhelming rush.
“It went so well. We had a big snowstorm the first day, so it was just a nice slow ease into opening. On Thursday, it seemed like the word started to get out, so we steadily picked up and doubled the amount of people each day.”
On their menu, fish and chips, seafood options, pub sandwiches, mains, and shareables are featured.
“We really like the idea of community-based food where you can bring a bunch of items to the table and try a few different options,” Pridham said. “The menu is something that we’re rotating seasonally to keep things fresh.”
To cater to those with busy schedules, they have three hot and three cold sandwiches on the takeout menu, along with muffins, loaves, and coffee: espressos, lattes, and macchiatos.
Boshkung Brewing created a pilsner called Hook, Line & Sinker, and the restaurant has a fully-stocked fridge of cans for purchase.
“We want everybody to leave here happy, full, and to feel like they can sit down with the community, and enjoy something a little different,” Pridham said.
Hook, Line & Sinker can be found on Instagram @thehookhaliburton and Facebook. They are open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Sundays, and from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.
“We’re so excited to tackle week two,” Pridham said.