Love of city leads to sweet success

by Elysian Magazine

Bakehouse Charleston takes pride in homemade delights, fair trade coffee, craft beers

By Abby Deering
Photographs by Nickie Cutrona

The story that led Tracey Ditizio to open Bakehouse Charleston is not particularly new. She visited the city, fell in love, and with a background as a wedding cake proprietor in Florida, along with a degree in baking from pastry school, decided to set up shop in Charleston’s historic French Quarter District.

Sellayel Clemency, Bakehouse Charleston’s head pastry chef.

There are countless people who fall in love with this city, relocate here, and launch a business based on their passions and expertise.

What is new, however, is the exciting and fresh approach Ditizio and her team are bringing to Bakehouse Charleston.

The Bakehouse prides itself on preservative-free recipes that use only the highest-quality ingredients, sourced locally when possible.

Everything — and this means everything, right down to the house-baked granola and homemade marshmallows — is made on-site and from scratch in the Bakehouse’s small but industrial kitchen.

Head pastry chef Sellayel Clemency, and her assistant pastry chef, Allyson King, take turns coming in daily at 5 a.m. to freshly bake and create that day’s offerings: biscuits, scones, bagels, muffins, quiche, strata, biscotti, macaroons, whoopie pies, cakes and cookies. The list goes on. There are “good, down home” staples, but experimenting with new flavors and putting a spin on the traditional is the team’s trademark.

The menu changes slightly throughout the year to reflect seasonal ingredients. In the winter, it might feature a peppermint mocha and peanut butter cheesecake bar, while in the spring or summer, a frozen mint lemonade with fresh fruit crumble tart might be offered.

This hands-on-approach continues with the coffee selection served at Bakehouse. The beans are from Charleston-based Lowcountry Coffee Roasters and this means it holds to the two gold standards in the coffee industry today: direct and fair trade.

Ditizio herself went to Lowcountry Coffee Roasters, and with the guidance of a coffee roaster, created unique blends for Bakehouse: a single-origin Costa Rican coffee and a Brazilian Bobolink espresso. For decaf lovers, rest-assured, Bakehouse only uses the Swiss Water Process, ensuring the highest quality and taste.

A variety of the shop’s sweets and fair trade coffee.

Stepping into the bright and cheery Bakehouse space, there is a relaxed and welcoming atmosphere — something that is very important to Ditizio and that she credits to her loyal and supportive team.

“My staff’s been with me for years. We’re very close knit, so we want you to feel like part of the family when you come in,” Ditizio said.

That personable service, along with the curated coffee blends and high-quality food, keeps people coming back to Bakehouse.

At its East Bay Street location — a stone’s throw from Charleston’s historic City Market and swarms of tourists — Bakehouse has established itself as a favorite among locals. They visit daily, whether it be for a morning pick-me-up or late afternoon wind-down; to meet with colleagues over a light lunch and a sweet treat; to tap away on laptops; to nab an outdoor seat and enjoy a craft beer; or just to people watch. Yes, that’s right, the Bakehouse also has a great selection of local craft beers and will sometimes host beer tastings in the shop’s library space, which is also used for artist receptions, bridal showers, and other private events.

Speaking of bridal showers, Bakehouse is taking the same thoughtful, personalized approach found at the cafe and expanding its wedding cake and dessert business. Blake Lively, actress and celebrity homemaker, and actor Ryan Reynolds, who famously celebrated their nuptials at Charleston’s Boone Hall Plantation, were two of the Bakehouse’s first clients. It’s safe to say Bakehouse has hit upon a recipe for success, whatever’s cooking — or rather, baking — in the kitchen.  E

The inviting and relaxed dining area of Bakehouse Charleston.

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