By Karen Brainard
The cinnamon rolls that brought national attention to Ramona Cafe five years ago have a prime spot in the new Ramona Cafe Bake Shop.
Located next door to Ramona Cafe, the bake shop opened on Sept. 1. Owner Sonja Steiner has scheduled a grand opening for Friday, Sept. 14.
“I always wanted a bake shop,” said Steiner, who has owned Ramona Cafe for 25 years. “I love baking.”
Five years ago, her cafe was featured on Food Network’s “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives” for her deep fried Chicken Cordon Bleu and her cinnamon rolls.
In the new bake shop, the six-inch round, half-pound cinnamon rolls greet and entice customers as they walk through the door. The glass case displays the original cinnamon roll, along with such other rolls as apple cinnamon, chocolate, pecan, and sticky buns.
The recipe, as with many of Steiner’s recipes, came from her mom, Maria Steiner.
“She’s my inspiration,” said the daughter.
The rolls aren’t the only sweets in the bake shop. Various flavors of cupcakes, carrot cake, and pies are displayed in another case, and Steiner offers custom cakes, including wedding cakes.
Steiner emphasized the quality of her ingredients, and that includes using butter.
“We do everything by scratch. We don’t do mixes here,” she said.
Cafe customers who formerly asked if they could take home a whole pie can now do it. Steiner pointed out that her gourmet strawberry and apple pies are all made with fresh fruit.
Four years ago, Steiner said she had the idea for the bake shop, but it was the past year and a half that she worked to make it happen.
She owns the building and previously leased out the space adjacent to the cafe. The last business in there was a wine tasting room and Steiner has kept the wood counter and stools and the cafe tables. Decorating is still in progress, she said, but she is giving it a European flair.
Her parents came from
Switzerland and her uncle had a pastry shop. Steiner said she began baking at 8 years old and remembers her mother making 20 to 30 different kinds of decorative cookies at Christmastime.
“I definitely learned a lot from her,” she said.
In addition to her rolls, cakes and pies, Steiner wants to add cookies, pastries and candies.
“It’s endless,” she said of the variety she can offer.
Already she has been receiving orders for special occasion cakes. Although she hired a baker who specializes in cakes, she spent six months taking cake decorating classes.
The bake shop also offers Seattle’s Best coffees, and Steiner hopes to add an espresso machine. She also plans to sell specialty food items such as jams and relishes.
The cafe and bake shop have free Wi-Fi ,and Steiner said she would like to install a TV. The bake shop is open seven days a week from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. Steiner would like to eventually expand the hours to 5 p.m.
Ramona Cafe & Bake Shop is at 632 Main St.