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Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Whisk: A Sustainable Bakeshop Plans Expansion on Cherokee Street

Posted By on Wed, Feb 5, 2020 at 12:24 PM

click to enlarge Pastry chef-owner Kaylen Wissinger. - MABEL SUEN
  • Pastry chef-owner Kaylen Wissinger.

Changes are coming to a beloved spot on Cherokee Street.

For months Kaylen Wissinger had been debating how to best expand her bakery Whisk: A Sustainable Bakeshop (2201 Cherokee Street, 314-932-5166). The pastry chef says she's needed a larger kitchen for quite a while  business has been booming, and her current 297-square-foot space with just one cooler and mixer is no longer cutting it.

Near the end of 2019, after seven years in her current space, Wissinger started to seek out a new location for the bakery, convinced at the time that she couldn't expand the shop's current footprint.

"I was working with a realtor who I loved and was looking around everywhere for a space that was better suited to our needs," Wissinger says. "When we launched Poptimism last year, everything just happened so quickly and it became so chaotic and crazy in the kitchen trying to keep everything straight, from our wholesale accounts, our daily retail baking, all the [ice] pop prep and weddings ... it was just bananas."

Wissinger says that she looked at a few places, but none of them felt quite right. It wasn't until
Dan Guenther, alderman of the 9th Ward where Whisk is located, suggested that Wissinger expand its kitchen into the shop's cafe space that she finally settled on a solution.

"We just decided to go for it," Wissinger says.

When Whisk reopens after construction concludes this spring, Wissinger says it will no longer offer cafe seating in order to make room for the larger kitchen. Instead, guests can expect a classic bakery counter and case for carry-out purchases. Wissinger says the extra kitchen space is especially key for the two largest growing sectors of the business: Poptimism, her ice-pop brand, and her ever-evolving list of wholesale clients.

"We're almost tripling our production and prep space with the expansion," Wissinger says. "It will allow us to expand our wholesale program and add different items to our retail lineup, which I'm really excited about. We just bought an ice-pop machine from Brazil [for Poptimism], and it will have its own dedicated space, and we'll have lots of prep space around it. Poptimism is going to be everywhere in 2020, that's my goal."

Wissinger outlined her plans for Whisk's expansion in a recent Facebook post, sharing that construction on the revised layout will begin on Monday, February 10. That leaves just five days to visit the bakery before it closes for business until late March.

"It's really bittersweet; I have a lot of emotions these days," Wissinger says with a laugh. "I know it's the right decision for us, and I'm really proud of the work the team here has done, because a lot of places don't even make it past that five-year mark. There's a demand, and we're going to meet that demand with flying colors, I hope. It's exciting but also sad, because I love having a space where people can have a first date, meet up with friends or just come in and sit and do work for a bit."

Here is the original Whisk Facebook post announcing the news:

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