MOUNT GREENWOOD — Chicago Creampuffs & Cakes will reopen at 7 a.m. Tuesday in its new, larger sweet shop at 3458 W. 111th St. in Mount Greenwood.
Owner Emma Dearth has spent the last two months renovating the former Taco Joe restaurant and has big plans for the bakery that replaces her former location at 2734 W. 111th St. in Morgan Park.
"I still can't believe I am a bakery owner," said Dearth, who was giddy as she readied her new shop on Thursday.
Dearth sees her new store first as a sweet shop and bakery. The store will stock her signature cream puffs along with handmade cupcakes, doughnuts, cookies, pastries and sweet breads. These will be sold alongside Beverly resident Gregg Wilson's locally-produced Hardboiled Coffee.
That said, the new location will also offer soups, paninis and other such fare in the hopes of attracting a lunch crowd. Dearth is adding Wi-Fi and will have plenty of puzzles and games for kids as well. She hopes this combination will encourage families to hangout much like a cafe — particularly stay-at-home parents living nearby.
"I don't care about screaming or laughing kids. That is like music to me," Dearth said.
Indeed, her bakery found success in hosting kids parties in its former location just one mile east of her new shop. Kids would pack into the tiny 700-square-foot shop to celebrate birthdays by making cupcakes and other goodies.
Dearth hopes to do more and larger parties at the new store. Only this time, the parties will be both for kids and adults. Dearth has already been brainstorming grown-up courses on gingerbread, fondant and butter cream.
"Now the sky is limit," Dearth said of her new 3,500-square-foot shop.
She's even considering offering catering and delivery from the Mount Greenwood location, including setting up custom sweet tables at weddings and showers.
Or Chicago Creampuff could host its own events, including birthday parties and showers. She predicts such events could be a hit — particularly if paired with BYOB and a lively atmosphere, she said.
"Everybody is looking for a place to have a small party," she said.
Dearth, a Mount Greenwood resident, partnered with Dr. Sargon Benjamin Odisho of The Chicago Fix to help finance the expansion. His clinic offers chiropractic treatments as well as physical therapy and other related services at six locations throughout Chicago, including an office at 3139 W. 111th St. in Mount Greenwood.
As for Dearth, she knew she was destined to become a baker shortly after receiving her first Easy-Bake Oven. She soon graduated to her mother's kitchen stove where she was allowed to experiment with various recipes. Dearth made her first wedding cake at age 13.
She later landed a job in various grocery store bakeries, including those operated by Food 4 Less and Cub Foods. But after nine years, she grew tired of store-bought cakes and decided to step out on her own to pursue more creative baking.
Dearth opened Chicago Creampuff on Dec. 17, 2013. Her first year included plenty of learning moments. She soon realized she needed more space. Once parking in the area became difficult, she began looking for a different location with the help of the Mount Greenwood Chamber of Commerce.
Chicago Creampuff closed in the second week of October and began moving equipment and transforming the building that had been vacant since the taco joint closed about two years ago.
Dearth expects to open the shop at 7 a.m. every day. The bakery will be open until 6 p.m. during the week and will likely close a bit earlier on the weekends to host parties and allow time for other projects.
The business owner was going to pick up her business license Thursday afternoon and was eager to return to the store to start the oven and get her bakery case started.
"I can't wait to fill it," Dearth said.
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