Area Entrepreneurs Continue To Roll Along And Bake Up A Storm

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Area Entrepreneurs Continue To Roll Along And Bake Up A Storm

Even though COVID-19 related restrictions are in a state of constant change in certain industries, many local residents are returning to their old habits and shedding some of the new ones acquired during the months of the pandemic.

With access to bakeries severely limited at various stages of the ongoing pandemic, many people turned to baking at home while picking up new skills or simply returning to what they loved to do as children.

Now that bakeries have largely re-opened, a number of new ones have popped up in the region.

And while there are no guarantees when it comes to operating a successful bakery, there’s no question that fresh local ingredients, a focus of quality and baking fresh products every day, can go a long way towards helping a bakery survive and thrive.

Lakeside Bakery Deli Café, 286 Erie Street South, Leamington

To start off our story we check in with one of the area’s most successful baking businesses.

Danielle Tartaro has operated the 22-year-old Lakeside Bakery Deli Café for the past 15 years and now has more than 40 employees, including half a dozen master bakers who work overnight every night to produce fresh baked goods for their customers.

“Our secret over the years has been to offer fresh-baked products, baked on site every day,” Tartaro comments. “You can pick up frozen and thawed products at any grocery store, but you can’t get fresh like we offer, everywhere.”

And while many people who were trapped indoors throughout COVID-19 restrictions turned to baking at home on their own, a lot are now returning to their favourite bakeries, according to Tartaro.

“Baking is a long process and it’s one thing entirely to turn out dozens of loaves, buns, cakes and specialty breads and it’s another to make a few sourdough loaves at home,” says Tartaro. “Baking is a specialty and it takes years of experience to know when dough has risen enough to bake and when it needs a little more time.” She adds, “There are cooks who can’t bake and bakers who can’t cook.”

Customers can rest assured though that Lakeside Bakery’s Bread and Pastry Manager Jordan H. has been employed at the business for over 20 years. He has the experience customers depend on for quality baked goods, each and every time.

In addition to selling products from its location in Leamington, Lakeside Bakery also provides its baked goods locally to Fred’s Farm Fresh International Market & Deli, Demarco’s Fine Foods, Farron’s Gourmet Butcher Shop, La Vern’s Market, Remark Fresh Markets Windsor and Sanford and Son Supermarket (Harrow) as well as many restaurants in the area such as Nico’s, Billy’s Taphouse and Mettawas Station. They also ship internationally to many stores in Michigan, including Kroger.

With the holiday baking season behind us, there is no break for Tartaro and her team as they prepare for another busy time for Poonchkie Week taking place February 23 to March 1, 2022. Hundreds of original poonchkies in flavours of apple, strawberry, raspberry, lemon, whipped cream, custard with chocolate and plum, will be sold. Lots of fruit and no transfats! Pre-made assorted six packs and dozens are available, as are custom boxes of three dozen.

For now you can find plenty of choices of tortes, pastries, breads and buns ready for pickup, or you can order online at: LakesideBakery.com. The bakery also offers party platters, paninis, gift basket sales, wedding cakes, breakfast/lunch options and catering.

As for the future, with continual requests to open more locations in Windsor and beyond, Tartaro is considering her next moves due to all the “customer love” she receives. (And of course Biz X will keep you in the loop in future editions).

Local Bakers Rise To The Occasion

As the baking industry transitions back to offering full services after almost two years of restrictions, we take a look at some of the newest bakeries (including ownership changes and new products) in Windsor and Essex County . . . just in time for all the sweet Valentine’s Day celebrations!

Torus Doughnuts, 3090 Dougall Avenue, Unit #405, Windsor

Jenna Gelinas started baking as a child, working alongside her dad, and she’s now turned those childhood memories into a full time vocation with Torus Doughnuts.

Gelinas is currently transitioning from working out of her home to opening a location in Dougall Avenue plaza in a space next to Kumon Math and Reading Centre and KOMA Restaurant (Kitchen Of Michael Anthony).

“It’s a leap of faith to move into my own space, but I feel really good about the opportunity,” expresses Gelinas who expects to open the doors in either February or March 2022. “After working from my home for the past year, I’m ready to expand and hopefully attract a completely different customer base.”

While working for Tim Hortons for a few years, Gelinas also attended Brock University in St. Catharines and earned a math degree. It’s her background in math that led to the name of her company since Torus is the mathematical term for the shape of a doughnut.

Naturally, she plans to continue to specialize in baking doughnuts at the new location and expects to start with about a dozen different varieties before possibly expanding to a larger number once she gets established.

“I’m planning on a couple of employees to begin with and we’ll see how that goes before I add anyone else,” she explains.

For now she’s been putting in long hours, but believes it’s worth it to become her own boss and own her own business.

Baking is currently on hold and will resume when the bakery opens. You can keep up with the progress on the new location and hours, on the company’s Facebook and Instagram pages under “Torus Doughnuts”.

The Panetteria, 248 Ramsay Street, Amherstburg

Focusing on European-style pastries and breads, The Panetteria has been open in downtown Amherstburg since September 25, 2021.

Owned and operated by Anna Marano and Simon Briggs, a pair of Red Seal chefs with extensive experience in pastry-making and baking, they provide customers with a selection of decadent desserts including Danish pastries, croissants, scones and pain au chocolat, as well as sourdough breads, pies and fresh sandwiches on daily-baked rolls and buns.

“We consider ourselves an artisan bakery and everything we sell is baked fresh on the premises,” Marano informs Biz X. “As for our products, we take a more global view and try to offer baked goods that are different from a standard North American bakery.”

Both of the owners attended the Stratford Chefs School where Briggs was also an instructor for a number of years. Marano’s 10 years of culinary experience comes mainly from working in Stratford, while Briggs has worked in Stratford, London, Kitchener and Guelph, as well as Scotland where he was born.

Marano and Briggs, who also taught at The Chef Next Door adjacent to The Twisted Apron in Walkerville, plan to put those teaching skills to work when they launch The Bake Club.

“We’re still working on the details such as finding a location, because our bakery isn’t really large enough for a teaching space,” states Marano. “We’re willing to teach anyone if they have an interest and we’re already offering baking advice to customers who want to try something new for themselves at home.”

Cover story continues on page 18

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Dave Hall is a former reporter for The Windsor Star who contributes monthly features to Biz X magazine. Dave spent almost 40 years at the paper, covering sports, general news, municipal politics and business. Prior to that, Dave worked for The Brampton Times where he covered general news and sports.