New owners and new management is slowly turning Patterson-Kaye Lodge into a year-round destination.
The lodge on Santa’s Village Road, which has offered vacationing families cottage rentals since 1936, was recently sold to Michael Woods and Bill Curnew, who put in an offer to buy the property last summer. The deal closed in January and the new owners have been working to turn the summer-only destination into a year-round facility that will include a restaurant, which the owners are looking to have open by May 24.
Woods said he and Curnew were driven to buy the property because they felt it had potential to pull in more income if its operating season could be extended beyond the summer season. The pair are also revamping former owner Bryan Shier’s business model to help entice more visitors.
“His model was that people would pay a fixed fee per person that would include dinner and breakfast, and maybe they’d do something for lunch — it was an all-inclusive model,” said Woods. “We’ve changed it so people can stay and the restaurant will be there, and they can eat the meals they want to at the restaurant, and reduce the cost of the accommodation accordingly.”
Woods said the previous business model hadn’t fared well since the onset of the economic downturn. Relying on just a handful of months each year for revenue was also extremely challenging.
“You’ve got to generate enough revenue in that period of time to cover all of your expenses,” said Woods.
Since January, Woods and Curnew have been working to renovate the main lodge near the Muskoka River into a year-round eatery, which will open under the name Muskoka Memories Steakhouse and Seafood Restaurant. The restaurant will be heated by green technologies, and its menu is also getting a makeover from a renowned local chef.
“A lot of people will recognize Glenn Kitchen’s name,” said Woods. “He’s coming from Casino Rama. He’s been there from 15 years as one of their senior sous-chefs, and he’s going to be head chef at the steakhouse.”
According to a site plan application submitted to the town, the lodge’s pool house will also be turned into a spa.
“We’re looking forward to this summer,” said Woods. “We think it’s going to be a really nice spot.”