‘A great addition to the Laurentide experience’ | New

PENN YAN — Marla and Tracey Hedworth have been part of the local business community since 2018, when they purchased one of the village’s most historic buildings and opened The Laurentide Inn, a bed and breakfast.

They had bigger things in mind, however. The next step came two years ago, when they founded Laurentide Beer Co. in the property’s carriage house.

“The brewery was always part of the plan, but we wanted to do things in phases,” Marla said in a recent interview. “We wanted to make it an experience here. This is something we have always focused on: creating a Laurentian experience.

Now, with the recent opening of True Roots Kitchen at Laurentide Beer Co., the Hedworths have placed the final piece of their business puzzle. The restaurant opened in late May after a major refurbishment of the former Timmy G’s restaurant near Maiden Lane.

“We are so happy with this space,” Marla said. “We think it’s a great addition to the Laurentide experience.

How the Hedworths ended up in Penn Yan is an interesting story. They met in Boston and have lived in New England, New Jersey and New York, buying a Finger Lakes cabin in 2014.

Marla noted that her husband is from Phelps.

“We would still do the trail (Keuka Outlet), going from Dresden to Penn Yan and back,” she said. “We loved Penn Yan and thought it was lovely.”

Marla said they started looking for a small business to run when Tracey came across the property known to locals as the Fox Inn, a bed-and-breakfast run for years by Myron White. The sprawling yellow-brick building on Main Street – it dates to the early 1800s – was once the home of William Morrison Oliver, first Yates County judge and later lieutenant governor of New York.

When the Hedworths purchased the property in 2018, the B&B had been owned by Cliff and Michele Orr for almost 15 years. Cliff Orr, a well-known local resident who died later that year, was a longtime executive at Penn Yan’s most iconic business, The Birkett Mills.

“We fell in love with the place, so we made an offer,” Marla said of the Fox Inn.

After an extensive renovation, the Hedworths renamed it the Laurentide Inn, after the Laurentide ice sheet and glacier that created the Finger Lakes. The property included a former carriage house, which the Hedworths were looking for as a brewery.

“My husband’s best friend, Brett Driscoll, had been home brewing for years and we were big fans of his beer,” Marla said. “We thought it would be cool to have beer here.”

Driscoll, a mechanical engineer by trade, became head brewer – a position he still holds – and receives help from his wife, Jackie, and Tracey Hedworth.

Laurentide Beer Co. was launched during the first wave of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“We opened the brewery right in the middle of the pandemic, and there was a pivotal period until our liquor license was approved,” Marla said. “We couldn’t brew until it was approved.

“We were approved in March, but businesses were closing at that time due to the pandemic, so we were like, ‘OK, are we brewing now?’ Lagers can sit and get better and better, but if you brew IPAs, they have a shelf life of a few months. We said if we couldn’t open we were going to have lots of beer to give to friends – lots of friends.

Laurentide Beer Co. opened in June 2020, at just 30% capacity, but as covid occupancy restrictions eased it became the popular spot it is today – known for a premium and diverse beer selection, live music, and being “dog friendly.”

“We are definitely dog ​​friendly if your dog is friendly,” Marla said with a smile.

The B&B and brewery was a stone’s throw from Timmy G’s, a popular restaurant owned by Penn Yan Academy graduate Tim Gray. The place was well known as the longtime home of the Red Rooster.

When the Hedworths learned that Timmy G’s was on the market, they were interested.

“We had our eye on it, but we had just opened the brewery and we had our hands full with it,” Marla said. “Finally we said, ‘OK, let’s do it.’ ”

The Hedworths got in touch with local chef Ben Comstock, owner of True Roots Catering, and his business partner, Jim Coriale. They began designing a menu called an elevated and unique approach to gastropub fare, and the Hedworths began a major renovation of the space at Timmy G.

“It was a great partnership with True Roots, and Ben and Jim. Ben has a creative mind and great cooking,” Marla said. “It was a total overhaul of what people call the Red Rooster…with a beautiful mural in the back.”

The concept is an outdoor experience when the weather is nice, with large windows. Marla noted that much of the natural wood comes from the Comstock family, who live in the Branchport area.

The restaurant opened just before Memorial Day — as the Hedworths hoped — and people can eat inside or order from the brewery. There is a small seating area, with a sofa and chairs, in the restaurant.

“True Roots Kitchen has been an incredible addition to the now thriving culinary scene in Penn Yan and Yates County,” said Yates County Economic Developer Steve Griffin. “National food publications are taking note of the variety and quality of our food options, and True Roots and Laurentide Beer Co. are a big reason why. We are very grateful for the contributions they have made and are grateful to be able to enjoy the food, drink and entertainment they bring to the community.

Marla noted that Griffin, her fellow business owners, and the community at large have been supportive since day one.

“Penn Yan has been an amazing community,” she said. “We were warmly welcomed by so many like-minded business owners. It really feels like home here.”

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