Back to Baking

They thought they might have to kiss their business goodbye, but the owners of Sugar Kisses are sweet on their Berkley location


Published:

After five years of operating Sugar Kisses, a natural-ingredients bakery on Washington Avenue in downtown Royal Oak, husband-and-wife owners Lisa Turkawski and Brian Hack had developed a real following for Lisa’s wheat-free confections. Then, out of the blue, the building was sold.

The new owner essentially turned off the ovens when he informed the couple they would have to vacate. It was Oct. 30, 2008, Devil’s Night — a date they ruefully thought was quite appropriate.

And what was worse, they had to be out before Christmas, which would deprive them of the busiest time of the year for the breads, biscotti, cakes, tortes, and brownies made by Lisa, a pastry chef with experience in the pastry kitchen at the Whitney Restaurant and Ridley’s Bakery in Troy.

They began scrambling to find a new location, and, as word got out, they discovered they were not alone. Loyal patrons rallied, including one who drives in from Kalamazoo, and who bought a chest freezer just for the 15 to 20 loaves of gluten-free bread that he buys at a time. Last year’s Thanksgiving sales made it the most successful holiday they’d ever had.

And on Dec. 11, just a few days before they had to be out of the building at 1025 S. Washington, the owners of Woodward Avenue Brewers in Ferndale, where Brian, a former music retailer, has a night job, tossed a benefit concert for Sugar Kisses, with the bands Scarlett Oaks and Bixy Lutz performing.

That revenue and the brisk Thanksgiving business kept them going until they could open again. After looking in Birmingham and Troy, both of which they found too expensive, the couple found a spot in Berkley that fit their budget and offered a setting similar to Royal Oak, with sidewalks and lots of families living nearby.

And they love the fact that Berkley has no parking meters downtown.

Doing most of the remodeling work themselves, they reopened on Memorial Day weekend with a lavender- and purple-painted storefront and a sunny orange interior where cases display the lemon bars, cupcakes, brownies, muffins, and layer cakes that Lisa makes daily in the wee hours of the morning.

The new Sugar Kisses is a bit larger than the original, and offers a few more seats for those who like to sip the organic, fair-trade coffee and espresso drinks accompanied by Lisa’s all-natural confections — many of which are vegan as well as gluten-free.

Only once in a while, they say, does someone come in with allergy problems their products can’t accommodate.

Sugar Kisses, 2688 Coolidge Hwy. (just north of Catalpa), Berkley; 248-542-5622, sugarkissesbakery.com.

Edit Module
Edit Module Edit ModuleShow Tags

Archive »Related Content

A Side Order of Jazz

Friday nights in Dearborn are hopping at Joe’s Top Dog Restaurant

Jam-Packed Piety

Operated by a community of monks, the Jampot sells organic confections in Michigan’s Upper (upper) Peninsula.

Call of the Forest

Executive chef Nick Janutol’s menu at reimagined Birmingham restaurant is brimming with originality

Tapas Tonight?

Royal Oak’s La Dulce takes traditional small-plates dining to new heights.

Old World, New Tricks

Russian monastery serves up Eastern European dishes to a devoted following.
Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Most Popular

  1. Is My Beer Supposed to Taste Like This?
    Recognizing the off-flavor is the key to determining where in the chain something may have gone...
  2. An American in Champagne
    A visit to France brings concepts learned here to life
  3. 20/20 Hindsight
    A look back at the people covered by Hour Detroit since 1996
  4. Jam-Packed Piety
    Operated by a community of monks, the Jampot sells organic confections in Michigan’s Upper...
  5. Pure Detroit
    After 10 years of statewide success, Michigan’s publicity campaign steers its focus toward the...
  6. Street Wise
    Detroit is well-known for iconic creations like the automobile and the Motown sound. Now, local...
  7. Call of the Forest
    Executive chef Nick Janutol’s menu at reimagined Birmingham restaurant is brimming with...
  8. Walk on the Wild Side
    Experience nature up close in the GarLyn Zoo’s park-like surroundings
  9. A Side Order of Jazz
    Friday nights in Dearborn are hopping at Joe’s Top Dog Restaurant