Business

Petite Sweet Bakery expands to offer lunch

Petite Sweet owner and baker Sherie Rzeczkowski spent the last year planning how she would open a bakery. - Adam Rudnick
Petite Sweet owner and baker Sherie Rzeczkowski spent the last year planning how she would open a bakery.
— image credit: Adam Rudnick

ARLINGTON — Sherie Rzeczkowski knew she wanted to start a bakery. But when the opportunity to expand presented itself, she couldn’t say no.

Only five weeks after opening up Petite Sweet Bakery in a shared building with Three Peas in a Pod in downtown Arlington, the restaurant’s owners announced that they were closing after less than a year in operation.

That meant that Sherie and her husband, Joe, had a decision on their hands — should they keep the vision of only offering baked goods and a light assortment of soups and sandwiches or expand their offerings and take over the entire space?

A new challenge? Why not?

“We had to reconfigure the plan, create our lunch menu, hire cooks, wait staff and another baker,” Sherie said. “We had already put almost a year into (the business plan), and we didn’t want to start over again.”

So far the gamble has paid off for the Rzeczkowskis and their new venture. Despite many businesses struggling and shutting down in a brutal economic climate, the Arlington couple is working hard to not become a statistic.

Offering not only fresh baked muffins, scones, bread and pastries, Petite Sweet also has a variety of specialty sandwiches, paninis, salads and recently began preparing a continental breakfast for patrons.

“We’ve gotten a lot of customer feedback so far, and it’s helping us tailor our menu,” Sherie said. “We have people asking for gluten-free, dairy-free and sugar free. People have special dietary needs and we’re slowly getting there.”

Prices range from about $3 for a cup of soup to $8.50 for a Smokin’ Granny (smoked gouda, turkey and Granny Smith apples grilled on choice of bread).

Petite also offers a full assortment of espresso drinks.

The goal was to create a business that offers something that other surrounding restaurants and businesses don’t.

“We always try to stick with our vision,” Joe Rzeczkowski said. “We want to provide the community a spot for people to get together. Sherie’s original vision was to make this place a gathering place. We want to find our niche but we want to be us.”

To add to that line of thought, the Rzeczkowskis also have hanging on the walls dozens of local art pieces for sale, as well as a small assortment of used books.

So far the restaurant/bakery has been busy. Sherie spends most of her time in the back baking — what she calls the easy part — while Joe helps customers up front, makes espresso drinks and takes care of other tasks that may come up throughout the day.

While customers are more than welcome to check out Petite Sweet for lunch, Sherie said that they can also call ahead for custom orders on baked goods, such as pies.

Some pastries can take up to 48 hours to make. Bread also requires several hours to bake and let set up.

“It takes time to produce a good product,” Sherie said. “We encourage people to call in advance. Then they know that (baked items) are going to be the freshest.”

For more information about Petite Sweet, call 360-435-PIES (7437) or visit www.petitesweetbakery.com. The bakery is located at 318 North Olympic Avenue, Arlington.

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