When Jeff DeSmidt opened the Bake Street Café in the Galleria West shopping center last year, he never thought he’d be in the catering business.
“Catering kind of happened,” he said. “It wasn’t in the original plan.”
But the small café didn’t get a lot of foot traffic, and DeSmidt had to diversify his business quickly.
“We found with this location, it’s tucked back here,” he said. “It’s hard to find.”
Catering for corporate events lets DeSmidt showcase what the café can do. “We do some really cool artistic work. It’s such a cool wow factor. They see this display and it helps get the word out.”
That’s not to say the scratch bake house doesn’t serve meals; it’s open for breakfast and lunch, offering homemade and local soups, salads, sandwiches and “cruffins,” a breakfast croissant muffin DeSmidt created which won the Hottest New Hybrid Award in the Wisconsin Bakers Association contest this year.
“We just entered it on a whim,” he said. “I think we sell more of these than cups of coffee.”
The cruffin is just one of several items on the menu, which, for lunch, changes every two days. But that doesn’t mean if you loved an item on Monday, you couldn’t order it on Thursday.
“Obviously, if someone wants a turkey or ham sandwich, we have the ingredients. We’ll keep some things in rotation.
“There was a month when we could not make enough chicken salad sandwiches,” said DeSmidt. “The same thing happened with the bologna and cheese sandwich. It was hot.”
A vegan soup – a Thai carrot bisque – was popular too. “We skew toward healthy. Seventy to 80 percent of our menu is healthy.”
Smoothies are a favorite too. “A big reason is all we use is fruit. We clean it, we chop it, and blend it with almond milk or juice.”
“Lunch is typically the busiest, but we get a lot of breakfast sandwiches during lunch – so I don’t know what that means!”
And all sandwiches are served on sourdough or wheat bread made fresh daily.
“There are a lot of sandwich shops, and a lot of them get bread from XYZ supplier. If you can make your own bread, and slice it fresh for a sandwich, it’s a new level.”
Most diners are from the Brookfield area, said DeSmidt – primarily Galleria West shoppers.
The café is small, with just a few tables and chairs, but there are seating areas elsewhere in the mall.
WEBSITE: www. bakestreetcafe.com
ADDRESS: 18900 W. Bluemound Road, Brookfield
RESERVATIONS: Not required
FARE: The Bake Street Café serves breakfast sandwiches and assorted cruffins (a croissant muffin pastry they created), sandwiches and wraps (like the veggie wrap made with zucchini, bell peppers, cucumbers, tomatoes, red onion, spinach and hummus), salads (their best seller is the Fruit and Nut Salad made with mixed greens, apples, berries, walnuts, blue cheese and choice of dressing), cookies and brownies, and an assortment of smoothies.
PRICE RANGE: Sandwiches range from $6 to $8, soups from $4.75 and served with homemade sourdough bread, and salads cost between $7 and $9.
HOURS: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays and 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday.