Honey and Rye Bakehouse is the project of two friends, Anne Andrus and Emily Ackerman, who have been cooking together since their childhood.
Andrus, a veteran of the Common Roots Cafe kitchen, is a graduate of the
San Francisco Baking Institute. Ackerman has primarily a social media and advertising background.
The bakery is set to open late September or early October at 4501 Excelsior Blvd. and will serve artisanal breads and homemade cakes and pastries.
Below, read an interview released by the two friends.
How did you come up with the name Honey & Rye Bakehouse?
Emily: I always gravitated
towards names that were “this and that.” After brainstorming a lot of
combinations, and many many other names in general, we sent out a survey
to friends and family. An iteration of Honey & Rye rose to the top, so we
refined it and went with it. After a year of deliberation, it was good to
finally commit to a name!
Anne: I think in its simplicity, it reflects that we are a very ingredient-focused bakery. It’s also a nod to both our sweet and savory offerings and the fact that this is a two- woman show. We like to joke about which of us is the honey and which is the rye!
Emily: And Anne contributed “Bakehouse,” which was perfect for our cozy, farmhouse concept.
How long before you found the location?
Anne: It was literally the first place we looked at! Nothing else even came close to comparison afterwards.
Emily: Actually our broker brought the former S & D Cleaners location up at our first meeting with her, before we’d even started looking — she saw its potential. After that meeting, I snooped around online and found some photos of the building and my heart skipped a beat. Anne and I thought about the location and we both became excited about it from the start, but weren’t sure if it was too big for our needs or too expensive.
Anne: We always envisioned being tucked away in a tiny corner somewhere in Minneapolis (where we both live), but the more we started thinking about this spot, with its proximity to Trader Joe’s and the surrounding neighborhoods, we knew we couldn’t pass it up.
Emily: And then we went through a lot of ups and downs in the negotiation process, not knowing if we’d get the space since we were up against some very established chain businesses. We thought there was no way two newbies with a startup would ever be considered as tenants against the competition we faced.
Anne: We become much more hopeful after meeting the building owner and learning that he supported our concept and small, local businesses in general. Sometimes I think we’re still in disbelief that it’s our space, but we’re so grateful and excited for the opportunity.
Describe the look and feel of the bakehouse.
Emily: We’ve been calling the look “urban farmhouse.” It will feel rustic, eclectic and cozy, featuring vintage finds, exposed wood rafters and handmade finishes. We’ve sourced some barn wood from farms in Staples and Pine River that will go into our finish work and interior signage; found old wood crates at estate and garage sales that will serve as shelving; and collected a variety of antique baking utensils to be on display. I think the mix of the old and new finishes will help give the place personality right off the bat.
Anne: We hope the welcoming environment will make the place feel like home. We really want people to feel like this is their neighborhood bakery, a place they want to visit again and again.
What makes Honey & Rye special?
Anne: Number one, it’s the taste and quality of our products! We both love food and have high expectations, so we know if something is mediocre or phenomenal.
Emily: We’ve tasted so many goods around town, especially cookies. I feel like I’m still searching for the perfect cookie! I’m confident Anne will create it. There are a few specific things that will make us unique. A couple of them reflect this down-home, old-fashioned concept we’re going for. In the vestibule entrance, we plan to have an “on your honor” pay box next to a basket of baguettes, for those who’d simply like to grab some bread for dinner and go. For those interested in a finer presentation of their special order pie or cake, Honey & Rye will offer the option to have their goods baked in a glass dish or platter (in place of a disposable option). A deposit for this service will be reimbursed when the dish or platter is returned. Also, patron punch cards will be kept up front, on file at our retail counter. We really want to get to know our customers and believe these touches, in addition to our products, will keep people coming back.
Anne: We’ll offer a honey & rye berries loaf daily, our namesake bread. Another signature item will be our special order cakes, with a build-your-own formula — pick a cake base, frosting flavor and frosting finish style suited to your individual preferences. Also, we haven’t seen many bakeries doing bite-sized options sold by the pound, which will be a fun way for people to try different offerings. Ultimately, we think our customers will find their favorites and specific specialty products will naturally emerge on their own.
How do you two know each other?
Anne: In the first few days of sixth grade (the grade all the elementary schools in the Little Falls area converge), I met Emily’s best friend from elementary school, Lyndsey, in math class. I invited her and her friends to eat lunch with me that day.
Emily: I ended up sitting directly across from Anne at the lunch table that day. At the end of the lunch period, Anne asked me if I was finished eating my potatoes and if she could have some. I didn’t mind, but I was pretty shocked when she picked up my fork from my tray, licked it clean and then dug right into my potatoes. You get to be fast friends with this one!
Anne: Looking back now, it’s kind of funny we met over food. We’ve had a tight group of girlfriends ever since then and have experienced so much together. There have been Ouija boards, road trips, stuffed bras, breakups, you name it.
Emily: Anne and I have never really fought. We’re both pretty level headed and rational, which is what makes us great business partners. We can talk stuff out.