Craig Gordon left and Colby Marcellus during their first days in business five years ago. For the first time the restaurant Baked and Battered will be closed for a few months. /ANGELICA INGRAM File photo

Baked and Battered taking winter hiatus

By Jenn Watt

Published Oct. 9 2017

Five years ago Baked and Battered owners Colby Marcellus and Craig Gordon did an extraordinary thing: they decided to relocate to Haliburton and open a bakery and fish and chip shop.

Stressed out and tired from their jobs in the Guelph area the couple was visiting their Highlands cottage relaxing on the lake when they asked the question – why not move here?

They had a goal of doing one extraordinary thing every year and it seemed a move like that would fall into the “extraordinary” category.

“It’s just a choice” Marcellus remembers thinking. “We just make a decision and if a decision doesn’t work out we just make another decision.”

The decision worked out very well and Baked and Battered was born on Highland Street in Haliburton Village. In the early days they focused on fish and chips on one side and baked goods and coffee on the other but have since branched out to a much wider selection of food. They’ve also connected with the community allowing groups to use the space for Cook It Up server training yoga sessions for charity and other group venues.

Which makes their most recent decision a bit harder.

For the first time Baked and Battered will be closed for a few months of the year.

The restaurant’s last day open in 2017 will be Sunday Oct. 15. It will re-open in March (Marcellus said they’re aiming for March 1).

“We have five years of baseline records. We’re able to pinpoint really accurately how much traffic there’s going to be for those months” he said of choosing the date to re-open.

The shop has nine staff in the slower season and 20 in the summer.

While it’s not easy to see from a customer’s point of view Marcellus said there are financial strains and risks that business owners have to manage and this year he and Gordon have come up with a plan to best tackle an increase in expenses.

“This year we have fairly sizable jump in our largest expense category that’s about to hit. We won’t be able to support that just on our lines of credit in the winter and we would likely end up spending the majority of our summer simply paying down lines of credit from the previous winter” he said.

In the past the owners of Baked and Battered have been open about the pressures the increase to the minimum wage will have on their business while maintaining that they agree that measures should be taken to make life more affordable for lower income people.

Marcellus said taking a break this winter will put them in a better financial position heading into next summer which will bolster the business.

“That will help us make the business that much stronger” he said.

During their hiatus Marcellus and Gordon intend to visit friends and family and then take the time to explore the Highlands in a way they haven’t been able to since starting their business which takes up most of their waking hours.

Among the possibilities: hike at the Frost Centre take in some folk concerts volunteer more and sleep.

Twice during his interview with the Echo customers leaned over the table to wish Marcellus well during his break inquiring about what will happen with the restaurant which has become a hub in the community.

“We work really hard to not just make it a business but make it a facet of the community. … It’s important for us to make this the community’s space” he said.