Like many of us, chef Darnell Reed turned to baking during quarantine. Reed, who owns Luella's Southern Kitchen, enrolled in online classes through the Butter Book, a virtual learning platform created by the founders of Chicago's French Pastry School. Soon enough, he was filling his kitchen with churros and bagels and buttercream frosting. It wasn't long before he realized that his hobby could easily translate to a new business opportunity. Earlier this week, Reed formally launched Baye's Little Bakery, a to-go–only concept operating out of the Luella's storefront in Lincoln Square.
"While taking these courses, I actually impressed myself with some of the techniques I pulled off and have never previously tried before, like buttercream, croissants—amongst other things," Reed says. "I really made the decision to start Baye’s Little Bakery while trying to figure out how to make up for lost revenue due to COVID into this one location. It’s also a way to continue to develop this newfound skill."
The menu is short and sweet, highlighting only the recipes that Reed mastered, including hummingbird cake, fried cherry hand pies, deep-dish sweet potato pie and butter pecan cookies sandwiched together with brown buttercream. Longtime fans will be elated to see that Reed's buttermilk cornbread with honey butter made the cut, too. But the real star of the show is a dish called The Grunt, a blackberry cobbler that's topped with tender sweet potato biscuits and decadent handmade caramel.
Reed's using CashDrop to take orders, which must be placed by 3pm the day before pickup (no drop-ins or day-of orders for now). Baye's Little Bakery operates during the same hours as Luella's: Wednesday through Sunday from noon to 8pm. Before you place your order, take a look at some of the delicious sweets on offer.
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