ANDERSONVILLE — Andersonville cafe m.henry is hoping to plug the Swedish dessert hole left in the neighborhood after the closing of the Swedish Bakery.
When the beloved bakery at 5348 N. Clark St. closed in February after 88 years, m.henry reached out to its lead baker Alphonso Aquillar to take over bakery operations at the cafe at 5707 N. Clark St., according to a press release from m.henry.
Aquillar's father put in 16 years at the bakery and his mother put in another 15 years. Aquillar, now 63, worked at Swedish Bakery for 36 years.
"I was 26 when I started," said Aquillar, who worked at the bakery along with his mother, father and brother. "It was like our house. Everybody was nice there all the time. You left your house and went to your other house."
He also worked part time at other places, including La Baguette Bakery across the street from m.henry, he said.
When m.henry first started baking its own bread, Aquillar also lent a hand, said owner Michael Moorman.
"He helped us out before and it's a pleasure to have him back because he just loves baking," Moorman said. "He's only been here a month and we're already getting special orders. Even the health inspector was excited."
When Moorman learned Swedish Bakery was closing, he knew hiring Aquillar would help his bakery do even better. Aquillar is now baking traditional and updated versions of Swedish desserts with flavor combinations m.henry is known for such as mango, sour cherry, guava and blackberry, he said.
The new items include: mango roulade, sour cherry marzipan cake, guava cream cheese roulade and peach and sour cherry cream cake. The bakery is now also taking specialty cake and cookie orders for special events, the release said.
"Everything is new here, but a lot of the stuff I know what to do with," said Aquillar heading back to the kitchen to bake his first batch of butter cookies at m.henry.
The bakery is closed on Mondays and open from 7 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Tuesday through Friday. It is open from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.