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Schooner Fish and Chips was established in 1970. My husband Randy (18 years old at the time), and his father Harold had taken ownership of the restaurant April 1st1980, which will be 50 years this year. Randy was legally blind and knew at some point in his life he would be fully blind so he became self-employed. His father who was always a businessman had recommended that he should get into his own business. Together both Randy and Harold ran Schooners along with plenty of family members assisting in the management. Throughout the years Randy grew into owning other fish and chip locations in both Oshawa and Whitby, along with four chip trucks. Sadly, as Randy’s health declined he had to sell them off and passed away in 2015. The business remains in the Wilbur family and is now owned by immediate family.
“Randy may no longer be with us today, but we feel he would be proud of what we’ve accomplished.”
We continue to operate a traditional way of filleting fish; we order the fish whole then we skin and debone, and fillet into individual pieces. We also continue to order our fish from North American fisheries; our Cod is caught in New Brunswick, Haddock is caught in Nova Scotia, Halibut is caught out of Alaska, and Blue cod is caught in New Zealand. We always have daily fresh-cut fries and receive shipments of potatoes on a weekly basis. We still use the same fish batter recipe since 1970. And we are a family-owned restaurant and always have been.
Linda P., a really good friend of ours, was diagnosed with having Celiac. Linda went for years before finally finding out her problems were from foods containing gluten ingredients. My husband and I had the pleasure of spending a weekend away with Linda and her husband, Ron. I saw for myself what Linda had to deal with everyday. The restaurants we went to had no knowledge of the questions Linda was asking. I believe she ate plain lettuce and plain chicken the entire time we were away. I felt terrible for Linda and thought why couldn’t she have poutine or fish n chips that were gluten-free?
When we got home that weekend I bought gluten-free ingredients, fired up the back fryer and cooked gluten-free fish, poutine and coleslaw. Linda enjoyed it so much that we decided to continue serving gluten-free and haven’t stopped since. We have even expanded our menu to include gluten-free gravy and mini donuts!
It has now been a year since we first started serving gluten-free and I feel it is the best product to date. Combined with top quality ingredients and over 42 years of experience we have revised our recipe to taste like our famous fish n chips! I am proud to be serving gluten-free battered fish & chips to the Durham Region.
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