Week 21 – Grahame’s Bakery


Apple and raspberry turnovers? Yes, please!

A couple of weeks ago we went through a rainy spell and I learned something about toddlers and the rain: you can only keep them inside for so long.  On Tuesday of that week, that particular threshold was 5:15pm.  The walls felt like they were closing in on us and Matteo and I needed a mission.


This is the press that makes the buns and *my* cinnamon danishes!

Joe had a pot of marinara sauce on the stove, with meatballs bubbling merrily within it.  On that cold and gloomy day, we decided that meatballs sandwiches would be the perfect dinner.  So Matteo and I found our mission: the get to Grahame’s Bakery before closing time to score four of their legendary sub buns.

Grahame’s Bakery has been a fixture of the Kemptville community since the 1930s when it was owned and operated by Bert and Nancy Frisby.  Leonard Grahame came to Canada from England in 1929.  He landed in Montreal and worked his way to Oxford Mills where he worked in farming and forestry.  Leonard started working at the Frisby’s bakery in 1939 and twenty years later, when the Frisbys retired to England, Leonard and his wife Lila bought the bakery and it’s been Grahame’s ever since.


A step back in time.

What makes Grahame’s special?  Why do people, such as a particular family from Manhattan, make a yearly pilgrimage to Kemptville to lay their hands on the bakery’s freshly baked treats?  Part of it is the wood burning oven.  “It’s a historical artefact,” says Debbie Wilson, Leonard’s granddaughter who runs the bakery with her brother Rick Grahame.  “People come from all over to see it.”  And guests are welcome to follow Debbie into the back of the meticulously clean prep area to look at the massive stone oven.  It’s been operating since 1885 and has only needed major repairs once, in 2010.

Rick knows that oven inside and out.  Not only did he work closely with the heritage stone mason who repaired the oven four years ago, Rick is the one who gets up every morning at 2:30am to make the doughnuts.  Next come the breads.  Rick lights the oven at 7:30am with cedar wood and at 9:30am, the baking begins.  It’s a long day to be sure, but even at the end of the day, Rick is welcoming and happy to chat with me and Matteo.

Local restaurants have embraced the bakery and you’ll find Grahame’s breads and buns at the Brigadoon, O’Heaphy’s, Salamanders, and the Branch.  Everybody I talk to has their favourite indulgence – from chocolate-dipped doughnuts to date squares to their world famous butter tarts.  My favourite?  The cinnamon Danish.  They make a beautiful, rich, and satisfying snack that pairs well with a hot cup of coffee.


Made from scratch – doughnuts and apple fritters.

And you know what?  Debbie and Rick will remember your favourites.  Once I went in to pick up a loaf of bread for my neighbour and they knew exactly what she liked best..  Whenever we pop in, Debbie asks about family and she genuinely cares about my answer.  Community is very important to Grahame’s and nothing demonstrates that better than their actions during the Ice Storm.  The wood oven was going full force cooking food that people and local stores brought in from their freezers, and supplying the shelters with hot, wholesome food.

On that rainy Tuesday, Matteo and I made it to the bakery at 5:29pm.  Debbie was sweeping the front step as we parked the tricycle.  She welcomed us warmly and chatted with us as Rick went to get the buns.  On our way out, Debbie slipped a small treat to Matteo, to fuel him for the wet trip home.  And when we got there, the meatballs subs were indeed perfection.  Thank you, Grahame’s!

Grahame’s Bakery

115 Clothier St. East, Kemptville, ON K0G 1J0



Bakery Hours:

Tuesday – Friday: 5:30 am – 5:30 pm

Saturday: 5:30 am – 3:00 pm

Sunday & Monday: Closed

Note: Grahame’s accepts cash and cheque only; Payment via Interac and credit card is not available.


Don’t be shy – ask Debbie and Rick if you can see the wood-burning oven!

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15 Responses to Week 21 – Grahame’s Bakery

  1. Grahame’s Bakery has custom made buns for my catering business and the clients love them.

    • 52weeksNG says:

      You’re right…they make great buns! I could write a whole post on Grahame’s Bakery bread, buns, and…sausage rolls! What is the name of your catering business?

  2. Reg Smith says:

    The ICE STORM OF ’98 left our supper half cooked. We sure were happily surprised when Grahame’s Bakery didn’t hesitate to finish baking it. (Lasagna perhaps? I can no longer recall.)
    Those butter tarts — they have the perfect flavour but they’re not so sickeningly sweet as most are.

  3. B. Sherman says:

    We stopped buying bread at the local grocery store, Deb and Rick are always ready to hold your order for you. We love the personal way they greet us and have time to chat a bit. Great bread and treats too.

    • 52weeksNG says:

      And the bread is so good, isn’t it?! Must be the wood burning oven that gives it such an addictive flavour. 🙂 What’s your favourite loaf?

  4. Sonja Bertram says:

    Love Grahame’s bakery….love the butter tarts….love the sausage rolls and every Christmas order one of their large chocolate.vanilla Christmas cakes that Debbie decorates so masterfully that it acts as the centrepiece to our Christmas celebrations. Thanks Rick and Debbie Sonja Bertram

    • 52weeksNG says:

      You know who else loves those sausage rolls? Matteo! 🙂
      I think I could write a whole other post (that brings me up to three, I think) about the bakery’s seasonal treats. Only six months ’til Christmas! 😉

  5. Nope.
    That link doesn’t work either. To find the butter tart recipe one has to go to their page and have a quick look.
    The recipe link is right above Debbie and Rick’s photo.

  6. Ainslie says:

    Wow, I didn’t actually realize that they opened up at 5:30 every day! My personal favourite – their turnovers and croissants !

  7. J. Bertram says:

    Great intro to not only a world class bakery but some world class people – Debbie and Rick !
    You owe it to yourself to get to Grahame’s. Mmmmmmmm………..

  8. Grahams says:


    Thanks for sharing and for the record, we Bishop’s Mills Grahams are not related to the bakery Grahames..


    • 52weeksNG says:

      Hi Jeanne,
      Although you’re not related to the bakery Grahames, it sounds like you share their passion for home-made goodness. 🙂
      Thank YOU for reading and commenting,

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