Opening a bakery has been a goal for Abigail Gillan since she was 12 years old.
That goal will soon be realized when Ragamuffin Bakery + Coffee opens in its new permanent location in downtown South Bend. The bakery is just about ready and expects to open in the next couple of weeks.
“It’s been a long and very winding road,” Gillan said. “I can’t quite believe I’ve ended up here.”
Gillan launched The Ragamuffin, a self-described “mostly wholesome” bakery at the South Bend Farmer’s Market in 2016. The concept and Gillan’s inspiration for baking was from her grandmother, Marge Larrison, and Larrison’s best friend, Bea Goff. The two loved to bake and experiment with recipes, adding a bit of this and a touch of that, creating as they went. That sense of experimentation and hominess is what began a baking love affair for Gillan.
Ragamuffin operated predominantly out of the Farmer’s Market booth and in December 2018, opened a popup in CircaArts Gallery on the East Bank in downtown South Bend. Along the way, the business built a loyal customer base who indulged in Gillan’s baked items such as dense almond croissants and gluten-free chocolate chip oatmeal peanut butter cookies.
The initial month-long popup was extended for about a year, but it was meant to be only a temporary location for the business. Gillan’s aspirations to open a permanent location came in the newly renovated Hibberd building in downtown South Bend.
“The space is 674 square feet — small and mighty, and much bigger than most of the kitchens in which I’ve worked,” Gillan said. “I didn’t know much about starting the building process, but H.G. Christman Construction, EPOCH Architecture, and the owners of the Hibberd building rallied around me with support and guidance.”
Ragamuffin Bakery + Coffee will open at 321 S. Main St. on Thursday. Ovens, mixers and espresso machines cover the modest-sized business and every piece to the design has a pointed meaning to Gillan’s past, such as incorporating tilework that pays homage to her time in Boston, adding an antique school clock from a school where her grandfather was principal and repurposing a pew from Good Shepherd Montessori School.
“The space wraps me in some of my favorite memories,” she said. “At the end of the day, the bakery is a cozy, homey, delicious space.”
Not even a pandemic could totally crush Gillan’s dreams of opening the bakery. Instead of being able to offer a space for people to relax and enjoy a cup of coffee with a baked item, the business will be going back to its Farmer’s Market roots and offer carryout only until government restrictions on businesses are lifted.
“Although we’ve now created this inviting coffee house venue, we will have to put the ‘come and spend the morning’ vibe on hold until the pandemic relents,” Gillan said. “In the meantime, our customers can be assured that every precaution will be taken to ensure efficient and safe transactions and that Ragamuffin baked goods are prepared with squeaky clean standards following CDC guidelines.”
On the menu, the bakery will offer many of the same items — such as cinnamon rolls and croissants — that bring customers back time and again. Gillan, along with new classically trained part-time pastry chef Cindy Monger, will also keep customers on their toes by offering new items now and again. And, as the new name suggests, the bakery will now also offer coffee and espresso drinks from Michigan-based Red Arrow Roasters.
During the pandemic, Gillan said, only a couple of customers will be allowed in the space at one time and are requested to cover their faces. Calling ahead with orders is highly encouraged.
But, always looking for a silver lining in things, Gillan thinks now is a great time to open her bakery.
“It’s in line with my mission to create a destination for people to find comfort and community,” she said. “If it’s possible, why not uplift people’s spirits with conversation, a welcoming smile and a warm, citrusy cinnamon roll?”
When the bakery opens, its hours will be 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays and 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays.
Have you heard?
- Kroger pickup services are now available to customers who qualify for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). When checking out online, customers can select the SNAP/EBT payment and if using an EBT card, can present the card at the time of pickup.
- New Castle-based Jack’s Donuts is closer to opening two South Bend area locations. Jack’s Donuts will open at The Mill at Iron Works in Mishawaka at 290 W. Front St. in early June, according to a news release. A second location will open at 623 E. LaSalle Ave. next to St. Joseph High School near downtown South Bend in late summer.
Source: Thanks https://www.southbendtribune.com/news/business/marketbasket/ragamuffin-bakery-coffee-opens-in-new-home-at-hibberd-building-in-south-bend/article_e6ae5e7a-7ff3-11ea-adbe-f3516659c70a.html