Tell me about Christi's Sweet Cafe. How long have you been in business, and what made you decide to open a bakery in Barrington?
I opened Christi's (with help from my husband, Calin) to be able to provide sweet treats for people. I do not have a set menu, therefore items are constantly changing. I take requests for almost anything- cookies, pies, cakes, cupcakes, tarts and more! I opened my door in October of 2018. Calin found this location on his way to work one day. We always drove through going to his parents who live in Hoffman Estates, and found the small town to be unique. So many small shops and people walking around just seemed like the right place to be.
Where did you go to Culinary school?
I went to Kendall College when it was in Evanston. I also took classes at the French Pastry School.
If you weren't a chef and bakery owner, what would you be doing as a profession?
I want to say I would work more in food science. But I also love marine biology.
What are the biggest challenges of owning a bakery?
I would have to say being a one woman show. I do not have a team or staff helping me. I do all the cleaning, baking, storefront, etc. My husband takes care of the book work so I don't worry as much. I also have to give my 9 year old son credit, he tries to help when he can.
I imagine you have to get up pretty early to get the bakery ready for the morning rush. What time do you fire up the ovens?
When my husband is home to watch Caden, I usually am at the shop between 5:30-6:30 AM. When Caden is with me, we are there about 7:30 AM. Ovens get turned on and scones, cookies, croissants, etc go in oven. (I make various kinds of dough, portion and freeze ahead of time so they are ready to go in the mornings)
I see your IG feed is filled with gorgeous cakes and pastries daily, what are some of your most requested specialty items?
I would have to say cakes! I get a lot of specific requests on designs. But also brownies and cookies come in a close second.
What are your personal favorites to make?
I really enjoy making individual pastries, mainly for the display case. Scones are another favorite of mine.
What is it that you find unique about Barrington?
That small town feel. Everyone is so nice and supportive!
Aside from your own bakery, where in the Barrington area do you like to grab a bite to eat, and what dishes do you recommend?
So many choices! We still have so many places to try, but McGonigal's Pub (pot roast was delish!), Iron Horse (pulled pork sandwich), Remember Charlotte's (my son loves their sausage pizza!), Gnarly Knots (garlic parmesan are my favorite!)
Is there anything else you would like to tell the readers about Christi's Sweet Cafe?
I have worked in high end hotels and restaurants such as Sofitel, Grand Geneva Resort, Signature Room at the 95th, and the Crystal Ball Room. I also teach at the college of Lake County. I decided to venture out and open my own place because I needed to be able to prioritize my family first and to show my son what can happen if you work hard and take risks, even how scary it is, how rewarding the outcome can be.
I appreciate Christi taking time out of her busy day to talk about her cafe. Christi and her son, Caden, are as sweet as the delicious pastries she creates!
Christi's Sweet Cafe is located at 121A Barrington Commons Ct. Barrington, IL 60010, 224.655.7334
Store Hours: Mon - ClosedTues & Wed - Pre-orders only Thurs - Sat - 9AM-4PMSun - 9AM-1PM
For information on being featured in the JFP Blog, please contact Jennifer Falat Photography at firstname.lastname@example.org, or 847.890.9448.