Randy Feltis is an exciting, new presence around Cleveland’s House. Randy is the Chef/Owner of Pie and The Lakehouse – the two wonderful new restaurants at the resort this year. Pie is a wood-fired pizzeria, with a spectacular patio out on Lake Rosseau. The Lakehouse is the fabulous, new restaurant in the newly renovated Main Lodge.
Randy was born and brought up in the Muskoka area, before he moved to Toronto to attend culinary school. He apprenticed in Europe, before returning to Toronto to begin work in a fine, Italian restaurant, where he grew to learn the subtleties of pizza and other staples of that genre. After a few years he was ready to fledge, and found a fancy restaurant in downtown Barrie that he bought shortly thereafter.
Many years later he opened the highly-acclaimed Farmhouse Restaurant in Barrie, and also began Pie there. Pie continues to spread in all directions around the province. Anyone who has eaten there is surely glad that we now have access to Pie right here at the resort.
I met with Randy for a delectable breakfast wanting to know more about the man behind the scenes.
Who is Randy Feltis?
RF: So, Randy Feltis is a father. He’s a husband, and he’s a chef…and a little bit of a restauranteur – because I’ve got a bit of a case of the craizies.
What is Pie?
RF: Pie is a wood-fired pizza joint, but we’ve kind of taken the authentic Italian out of it and built it for everyone. We’ve taken a twist and made everything fun. We don’t have big words on there like orecchiette. We basically made a neighbourhood, Italian pizza joint – but for the masses.
How did Pie end up at Cleveland’s House?
RF: We were growing pretty quickly with the Pie brand, and we were going back between whether we should go to Toronto or further north. And then last year we built a store in Torrance, in the middle of nowhere, and it was like the worst idea ever. But it was a guy named Greg Knight who convinced us to open there and offered to share the risk, and so we said OK we’ll do it. So we turned a former garage into a restaurant in 5 weeks and then we were lined up with people for 12 weeks! It turned out to be a really good idea. Then Mr. Knight came to us about Cleveland’s House and asked if we would put one up here? And we knew about the history of Cleveland’s House and were excited about the renovations and rebranding of the resort and wanted to help start a new tradition here.
What matters most to Randy Feltis in life?
RF: Well, family is number one. I mean restaurants are fun, but they can be a pain in the @$$ sometimes. Friends, enjoying life and doing what you actually think is right. I think that opening The Farmhouse and Pie has actually helped me out along that way as I actually get to make the decisions about what’s on the menu and what goes on in the restaurant – and then it becomes like choosing your own adventure, which is so cool.
What have you come to experience and know are some keys to a contented life?
RF: I’ve come to know that respect for your loved ones works out quite well (laughs). What’s that saying, “Happy wife, happy life”? But more or less, I think you have to respect yourself. You have to become happy with yourself and then from there you can help make others happy. And I don’t think it stops with your family, in the culture and operations of my businesses, if you hold your head up high and have a good time at work, everyone else will as well. With all the negativity in the world today, if you can actually go to work and enjoy yourself, then everything else seems to fall into place.
What’s your favourite food?
RF: Steak and fries.
Take a moment to look at the fantastic menu’s Randy has developed at Clevelands House.