Where to start? It’s not a story about a building so much as a family history that led to what is today.
I’ll skip ahead to the year 1984, we lived in Brampton at the time and my father John was being laid off from his job and was receiving some severance money. Me being a cocky 16 year old with 2 years Tim Hortons experience convinced my dad we could open a coffee and donut shop (called O’Donuts) and run it as a family business along with my mother Linda and brother Gord. After 6 years of working and being on call 24/7 (as those are the donut shop hours), we sold and my dad said it was his turn to pick the business. owners father and son team John and Barry still
smiling after 26 years of being in business together. Photo from 2010, John has since retired. In the same strip mall as our donut shop (corner of Hwy#10 and Vodden in Brampton), was a little but busy fish and chip store (named Henry’s fish and chips). We had eaten there a number of times and as the joke went: my father liked it so much, we bought the company. So we spent the next 5 years selling fish and chips, no dessert and no alcohol. 50% take-out business with seating for about 28 people. No table service, order at the counter and sit down. It’s where I cut my teeth on the art of skinning, boning and filleting fish. Our menu was pretty basic: halibut, fries, coleslaw, onion rings.
Eventually we were approached with an offer to sell and decided it was time for a change.
Our family roots were in Niagara, we were from here and had family here. Fonthill, Welland, Port Colborne, Wainfleet etc. so we took the opportunity to move back to the area and look for a business to buy and run. Of course by now I’m no longer 16 but 27 and engaged to my future (and present) wife, Allyson.
staff being trained basic flair techniques After looking around at a few different businesses mainly in the restaurant industry we walked into which was for sale at the time and were overcome with a homey feel. It was definitely love at first sight. Looking back I realize how brave we were to buy a business that was fine dining upstairs (linen tablecloths, candles etc.) and a rowdier bar downstairs and tear up the menu and proclaim that we don’t know much about cooking all that other stuff but we know how to cook fish and chips. The rest we learned as we went along.
Kudos if you’re still reading after all this. You deserve a couple of pieces of trivia. In our dining room we keep our menus in a wooden box, by the coffee machine, on the box is engraved “O’Donut’s” it was the newspaper holder from our donut shop. And our homemade bread rises in the same proofer that we used to use to make donuts. Yep, it still works!