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Palette to Palate: Baker Lisa Rundle & Marta Leardi-Anderson

Updated: Mar 14


King Street Cafe Sign

Listening to Lisa Rundle and Marta Leardi-Anderson chat with one another, you would think that they were sisters, or at the very least, best friends. They compliment and build each other up like any respectable cheerleader would. In reality though, these partners of the new King Street Café in downtown Harrow only met last fall when Lisa was looking for a location for her new bakery venture. Marta owns the former Oddfellows building near the corner of King and Queen Streets, and Lisa says she “fell in love with the building, fell in love with Marta; she’s awesome.” To which Marta immediately responds “Lisa is such an impressive baker, first of all, but more than that, she’s an impressive person. An impressive woman, hard-working; she’s dedicated to her craft, to her family, to her community, and why wouldn’t I want to go into business with someone like that?” And this is how a business is born folks. 


    Lisa is the baker, and while not formally trained, she’s been creating custom desserts and baked goods for close to ten years. Practice makes perfect as they say, and ten years is more than enough time to get some practice in. She also told me her stand mixer (named Bertha) is her favorite kitchen tool, so I feel like that’s what a true baker would say. In any event, she had her own daycare and worked as a nanny, while simultaneously running her own home based baking business (Pretty Pink Kitchen). Now that her charges are in their teens, she felt it was time to finally pursue her dream of having a bakery. Although her café will be in Harrow, Lisa lives in Windsor, so there had to be something that drew her to this charming town. Really, again, it was some of that right time, right place magic. Harrow is being rejuvenated with new small businesses and the council is making it very welcoming for them. Lisa felt other areas were already flooded with cafés like hers, so the idea of being the only one in town was exciting (apologies to Tim H.). 


Lisa Rundle

    As a board member of the Harrow Early Immigrant Research Society (HEIRS), Marta was also looking for a like-minded individual to lease the space to; someone who was enthusiastic about maintaining the historical integrity of the building. “Lisa fully understands my passion for the history of the building. I think it’s really neat how it’s all come together,” she tells me. This Independent Order of the Oddfellows building was constructed between 1912-1916 using all local tradesmen, contractors, and architects from Harrow and Kingsville. Given this poignant history, expect some black, white, and gold accented art deco ambience for the interior.


    Of course, atmosphere is extremely important when it comes to creating an experience for your customer, but the real reason people will be lining up is for the baked goods. Alas, the café is not open just yet, so there were no samples and I had to settle for descriptions of what will be offered. As Lisa says, “we’re going to have a light menu; soups and sandwiches, coffee and teas, smoothies, and of course different desserts every day. We’ll have some staples that are constant, but we’ll change it up.” If you’re hoping to bring a beautiful cake to your next family gathering, then you’re in luck because she’s planning to offer custom orders as well. You might even see some vegan options from time to time, but sadly gluten free likely won’t make the menu. There just isn’t a way to make sure there’s no cross contamination and keeping customers safe is extremely important to Lisa. The King St. Café has a tentative opening date of early April, but if you can’t wait that long, then head down to Harrow for cookie decorating at Daisy & Co. on March 18th, or on March 28th for a cheeky pop-up at King St. Café itself. At that Easter-adjacent event, Lisa says customers can expect “cookies, cupcakes, some chocolate covered pretzels and marshmallows; just some fun stuff. Maybe some peanut butter chocolate eggs.” If you want to get there first, make sure you’re following on Instagram so you get the details before anyone else. 


cupcakes

    If it sounds like Lisa and Marta have a lot on their plates right now, it’s because they do. Renovations are still happening, marketing is underway, they still work other jobs, and they both have kids and grandchildren. As Marta puts it, “It hasn’t been challenging in respect to owning the real estate or being the landlady; I don’t think there’s anything particularly difficult from a woman’s perspective, except for the traditional stuff. We’re moms and grandmothers and we’re juggling all of that. And again, Lisa’s very humble. She’s been a baker for years and had her own business, but as women, we tend to discount that stuff.


We have our full time jobs, but if we’re doing something interesting and something we love on the side that makes money, we tend to discount that.” These words would resonate with women around the world, I am sure. It’s exasperating that society piles so many unrealistic and outdated expectations on women, almost like building an endless layer cake, but the icing on that cake is ladies are meeting those challenges. They’re exceeding expectations and succeeding, and I cannot wait to partake in that cake, starting with the chocolate one from King St. Café.                          


Special to the RTT by Tammy Joho

Palette to Palate: Baker Lisa Rundle & Marta Leardi-Anderson

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