Add The Heights to the list of neighborhoods where a new-style, baker-driven pastry shop is set to open. Coming in April, architect turned baker Jessica Lusk is transforming her Stella Bakes online business into a 30-seat bakery and cafe called RED Dessert Dive & Coffee Shop.
"Currently, I'm an architect, but I'm not liking it," Lusk tells CultureMap. She started Stella Bakes two years ago to explore a career change and has found enough of an audience for her work that "I'm following it up with a brick and mortar." She's been traveling across the country collecting ideas and wants RED to have a "cozy" feel.
RED will be at least the fourth new bakery coming to Houston in 2014.
Lusk has long-time roots in the Heights. She lives there now, and both her grandfather and mother grew up there. To pay homage to the neighborhood and emphasize her commitment to sustainability, Lusk has incorporated reclaimed wood into her design for RED's bar front. The staff will also wear "It's ok to love Houston" T-shirts from nearby store Hello Lucky. "I want to support Houston businesses and be proud and promote Houston," Lusk explains.
She describes RED's menu as "classic American desserts with a twist." In addition to classics, Lusk is developing recipes that she describes as "super-different," such as using malt powder in cake recipes. She also cites her salted caramel brownies as a customer favorite that will make an appearance at the shop.
"We really do strive to use the best quality ingredients," Lusk says. She uses organic produce when available and seasonal produce from farmers markets.
As with other newcomers like Common Bond and Rebecca Masson's proposed Fluff Bake Bar, RED will have a beer and wine license. Lusk says the cafe will definitely serve wine, but she's still trying to figure out how to incorporate beer. Greenway coffee will also be available.
RED will be at least the fourth new bakery coming to Houston in 2014, and that doesn't include Three Brothers new location on Washington Ave. Won't that be delicious?