What began in 2010 as a merging between two loves – food and cycling – the Pastry Peddler in Millbrook continues to grow as a central figure in the community. Created 11 years ago by owners Deanna Bell and Colin Hall, the Pastry Peddler is a café that focuses on high-quality ingredients, a small-town feel and of course, cycling.
“We wanted to create a space where people came together to celebrate good food and a feeling of togetherness,” says co-owner Deanna Bell. “We have come a long way from selling bags of biscotti at local farmers’ markets over a decade ago!”
The name Pastry Peddler came to Colin long before the cafe ever came into existence. “I am a trained chef and pastry chef,” says co-owner Colin Hall. “And in addition to that, I am also an avid cyclist. One day the merging of those two worlds just came together for me as the name the Pastry Peddler. I sat with that name for a long time until I eventually met Deanna and we created the space that is now known as the Pastry Peddler today.”
With their signature black and orange branding and bicycles hanging on the wall of the cafe, Deanna and Colin chose to bring their unique cafe experience to Millbrook for a number of reasons.
“We really love the community and we felt like this was a place where we could stay true to ourselves and our vision for the Pastry Peddler,” says Deanna. “Everyone who comes into our cafe is like family to us and we feel incredibly grateful for that support. By setting up in Millbrook we have been able to expand on our vision of providing a quirky space with top-notch quality food.”
For Colin, there is another reason why he chose Millbrook as the home for the Pastry Peddler. “I love the idea of having this cafe concept in a place that is a destination for many cyclists. It is a difficult ride to get in and out of Millbrook, especially with all of those hills. I liked the idea that our cafe would be in a place that is often frequented by avid cyclists – it felt really authentic.”
The Pastry Peddler is best known for its full line of pastries, coffees, soups and breakfast and lunch menu. In addition to the excellent food, it was important for Deanna and Colin to build a space that reflected what they call their “labour of love.”
“We both have spent our entire lives in the hospitality industry,” says Colin. “We love creating a sense of community for our customers and getting the chance to experience the beauty of people connecting. We have a large communal table in the cafe, and pre-COVID times, it was incredible to watch our strangers would interact around that communal table. It truly felt like our little cafe was an extension of the community and helped to bring people together.”
Through the COVID-19 pandemic, times have been tough for Colin and Deanna, along with many other businesses in the area. To accommodate for social distancing, the Pastry Peddler has pivoted to providing customers with meal kits, frozen soups, takeaway options and even some indoor dining when restrictions allow. The cafe remains committed to high-quality ingredients and amazing flavours, with everything served in the cafe (excluding bread) being made in-house by Colin and his team. Their changing seasonal menus are focused on using local ingredients and connections with local makers and farmers from within the community.
Being able to pivot their business has been a challenge for Colin and Deanna but that is all part of the challenge for these business owners.
“Running a business is full of blood, sweat and tears,” says Colin. “We have never backed down from a challenge and this last year has been no exception. We are so grateful for the local support we have received from customers and the township.”
Looking forward to summer 2021, Deanna and Colin plan to utilize the outdoor space in front of the cafe for an outdoor dining area. “We look forward to welcoming back our customers in a safe and enjoyable way this summer,” says Deanna. “It’s been a hard year for all of us.”
When asked about what the town of Millbrook means to them, Deanna and Colin agree the support from their amazing patrons has been incredible. “Without them, we wouldn’t be where we are today, “ says Colin. “They have had our back, respected our vision and showed up to support us time and time again. We want to honour that support by continuing to do what we do – providing high-quality food and a unique atmosphere.”
As part of their mission, Deanna and Colin hope to continue to be a community hub for the area, another reference to their shared love of food and cycling. With a family history of amazing bakers, Deanna and Colin look forward to sharing their vision with the community of Millbrook.
For more information on the Pastry Peddler including information on menus and takeout, visit pastrypeddler.ca or their location at 17 King Street in Millbrook, ON.