From the partnership that brought you Brew in the Village: Bill Sheeder and Stephanie Sellers welcome visitors to their new venture, Baked Beer and Bread Company, which opens full time this spring. Be among the first to sample their kitchen menu items while you enjoy a beer from their in-house microbrewery.
After a late-2016 soft open, Baked has participated in multiple local events. One such event – the inaugural G.A.S. music festival produced by Moeller Nights in February – tested their venue’s 300-person capacity, with music fans buying up every available ticket to see multiple bands perform on the Baked stage.
Located at 1113 Mound Street in Davenport, the bakery opens at 7 a.m. one Tuesday through Friday and at 8 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday. Kitchen hours will end at 10 p.m., while the full bar remains open until 2 a.m. Be on the lookout for a big event celebrating Baked’s grand opening and Stephanie Sellers’ birthday on April 20th.
I caught up with Stephanie last week as she prepared for a wine-pairing event, baking up breads to serve fresh from the oven alongside spreads and five wines from a local distributor.
She was excited to talk about the event and future plans for the sizeable space, including weekend brunches and classes on baking and brew-your-own beer.
“We want this place to have its own personality,” she said, “and I see that personality being something like an old hippie.”
The best way to accomplish this: experience + experimentation. Stephanie has the experience – she began baking professionally in 2010, when she opened her own store in LeClaire called The Sweet Life Shop – and with exclusive bakery and brewery recipes, the store will likely become the Quad Cities’ go-to for innovation in these respective and combined areas.
Baked is a mom-and-pop operation with a perfect balance of sophistication-meets-barn wood. When you first enter, it looks as though you’ve stepped into an early 20th-century cottage that’s been retrofitted to house a smooth and lustrous operation. You observe the work going on in the microbrew and bakery as you sip coffee and munch a cupcake at a workbench-style table.
“Then you come in the back here,” Stephanie said, gesturing to the large room that houses the bar, restaurant seating, and stage area, “and it feels like a speakeasy. We’re actually below ground level right now.”
She beamed with pride as she told me: “That flag is to scale, by the way.”
The dimensions of the flag – from Milan-based Rusty Spur Designs, which did much of the woodwork in the store – reflect the dimensions of the long hall, with the stage on one end and the bar on the other. In between, recessed bench seating and a row of solid wood tables line one wall, leaving plenty of space in the center for the wildest of hootenannies. The room is versatile, quickly and easily adapted for different events, from receptions to special dinners to intimate acoustic performances.
This was where we sat and discussed the closest thing to our hearts: food. Like any good aging hippie, Baked takes food seriously. We talked about homemade sandwich breads piled high with flavor, fresh herbs from the restaurant’s own garden, and as many locally-produced ingredients as possible.
“We want to use local whenever we can,” Stephanie says, “but volume can be a problem for certain things.”
“Like lettuce. It’s hard to get enough locally to meet our needs.”
Brew already buys from Cinnamon Ridge Dairy in Donahue, Iowa, and Stephanie is hopeful that the multiple nearby farmers’ markets will lead them to a farmer who can supply the bulk of their ingredients.
This is a good time to mention that Baked is kid-friendly and will provide a children’s menu. Parents can feed good knowing that the cheese for the macaroni they’ve ordered for little Johnny came from a cow a few miles down the road and not a bag of orange powder. There will be no mystery meat here and no tubes of beef paste. Instead, classic-inspired dishes presented with unique taste fill the menu. The idea is to have meals that all visitors will appreciate while indulging the Baked family’s irrepressibly adventurous cravings.
“We want to try new things, always,” Stephanie said as she got ready to head back into the kitchen, “and we have an amazing team.”
Are you still hiring?
Just in time for Spring Break.
On my way out, a ham-and-cheese croissant caught my eye. It was flakey. It was buttery. It was hammy and cheesy. I can’t wait to get a sandwich, which will likely be named after a regional hero or eccentric, such as Mrs. Dr. Rebecca Keck or Marguerite LeClaire.
And speaking of LeClaire, you may be wondering about the aforementioned The Sweet Life Shop. Fans of Stephanie’s first enterprise were disappointed when she closed after a few years, having burned out from the stress of sole proprietorship. She actually quit baking for almost a year, but the holiday gift of a Kitchen-Aid stand mixer reignited her love of baking.
“I couldn’t stay away,” she tells people, her eyes glittering as she offers them another cookie.
Her enthusiasm is infectious. That afternoon, as I walked to my car, I passed a new building going up on the same block. Fresh investors are prompting a revitalization of the Village of East Davenport with the same passion for the area’s history and values that Bill and Stephanie radiate.
I get the impression that a New Village is in its infancy. It’s long been a popular shopping destination, and new business owners envision a neighborhood where inclusive and inventive happenings are part of the daily (and nightly) atmosphere. Be the first of your friends to experience this future cultural cornerstone and #GetBaked.
Stephanie will be there to great you, and she will have cupcakes.