I got my first taste of Ivy Bakery from my Pie Party a couple years ago. Someone brought the buttermilk pie, which I had heard tons about. When I tasted it it was creamy deliciousness and I added Ivy Bakery to my list of "must try" bakeries. I started following Daniellan Louie on social media and had heard about her anniversary event last year, unable to attend I was all ears for the next event. But a few weeks later Hurricane Sandy landed with a vengeance and many businesses were hit, especially those in lower Manhattan. I kept updated with anything Daniellan may need and was glad to hear of the patronage and aid from those in the community and throughout NYC. I also brought some canned pumpkin her way since it was unavailable and couldn't help but indulge in her butter gooies and pumpkin goods while there. Daniellan was so sweet and she puts a lot of effort to expand Ivy Bakery's menu and atmosphere to be a welcomed spot for everyone. There are games along with sweet & savory treats for purchase, so you can just lounge and absorb the homey atmosphere as well as the lovely aromas coming from each and every homemade good Daniellan presents. Ivy Bakery is one of those NYC gems that I hope you've already discovered or will.
What inspired Ivy Bakery and the items you make? On your website you say “(an) experience at Ivy Bakery is a journey back home, when things were less complicated, less processed, and just tasted real and good.” Many of the bakers I’ve spoken to mentioned a deep connection to home, family, and comfort when it came to their decision to focus on baking full-time and this seems to be the aim when customers taste your goods as well.
I really just like to cook/bake, feed people, and always wanted to create a place where people felt comfortable, safe, and relaxed. You could come in your pj's or in a suit and feel at ease. Walking into my shop should feel like walking into your past when the smell of fresh baked cookies put a smile on your face. I'm not looking to force those ideas of home, family, and comfort on people, it just seems to arise when people experience my desserts.
You are a baking Super Woman with a capital ‘S’. Whenever I see your Facebook posts it seems like you’re a one-woman baking/business machine. There’s private and group baking sessions, custom orders, paleo dinners, parties, Saturday lockdown, and so much that you do for Ivy Bakery. How does it all work out for you in terms of the events, baking, publicity, etc.?
Thanks. Yes I do a lot because I want to offer a lot. There are days where it's great and a buzz is generated and our classes are filled. And there are other days when not a soul walks in or signs up. I don't think Ivy Bakery has gotten to that point even after 13 years where we're a city name. [We're] still a hidden gem in the concrete jungle and if you're lucky you'll come across it. Personally though, I am exhausted but I enjoy what I do. Other than traveling, eating, and learning new skills, there's nothing more I would rather do than be in a kitchen.
Happy Anniversary! I can’t wait for the party this Saturday! Thirteen years is a huge achievement for any business. Ivy Bakery started out in your kitchen, moved to Bay Ridge, and is now in SoHo. Did you imagine you’d end up in Manhattan when you started Ivy Bakery? What changes do you have in store for Ivy in terms of savory & sweet items as well as continuing to branch out in NYC and perhaps the tri-state area?
Thanks, again! I can't wait either, it's tomorrow and there's still a lot of work to be done. I'm a tad discouraged only because it happens to be a holiday and in general a bad weekend where most people already have plans. However if it's a light show, I'll still be okay as I would hope that those that do attend have a great time and eat well. My annual cupcake contest is still in the air as not enough people have signed up. We MAY have to post pone it and hold it during our Halloween Party.
Hurricane Sandy was a big hit for many, especially for local businesses (particularly ones in lower Manhattan and parts of Brooklyn, Staten Island, Long Island, and Queens.) What pushed you to persevere during this time? There seemed to be support from locals in the area and Ivy Bakery fans.
Hurricane Sandy... what can I say, it put me in a really bad position, it was my first true holiday season at the new space in SoHo, we had a huge Halloween party planned with food trucks, sponsors, etc, the works! And all of it got cancelled as well as being closed without power for over a week and spoilage of all finished products and inventory. Not a dime back from any emergency loans or insurance. I was denied everything. As much as the media would have liked to say the city helped small businesses, it absolutely did not for myself or many other business owners I know. You and I, and small neighborhood organizations are the ones who should get any credit for really trying to generate business back into the community. I had some amazing customers who volunteered to drive me to the shop when the bridges reopened to check on the damages. I also had some customers who brought in eggs and canned goods to help restock the shop when everyone was fighting at the markets to replenish their lost inventory. They are why I persevered because I had to get back on my feet, reopen, shrug it all off, and keep going for amazing people.
You’ve catered at many corporate and individual events and Ivy Bakery has had a presence at the NYC Wine & Food Festival. But, if someone is going to remember Ivy Bakery for one item, what would you want them to think of as your signature? Would it be the buttermilk pie or butter gooie bars (my personal fave) or some of your savory items?
I would say the buttermilk pie as it's what I always push and should be remembered for. It's symbolic for classic traditional southern sweets which I emphasize. However, I bake comfort sweets and eats from around the world. Second would be my tres leches cups, which are my personal flavor and I think third due to current popularity would be the butter gooies.
Yes, definitely Instagram if you like looking at food/dessert porn. I'll try to get back to YouTube eventually. It's a social juggling act, I try to make myself available on most, but there's just never enough time or energy to get it all done. Sorry, Pinterest. lol
Thanks so much, Daniellan for the interview and looking forward to the big celebratory bash tomorrow (all-day).