CITY OF TONAWANDA — For the past 14 years, Sarah Mallare has worked both in the kitchen and serving at The Village Inn of Grand Island, building up a loyal following of customers who would regularly ask her when she was going to open her own place.
Mallare considered it, but loyalty intervened, she said. “The Village Inn has always been my heart and soul. They kind of helped make me who I am today.”
Still, Mallare was preparing to take on a few dessert-oriented accounts outside of her work at the Village Inn when she found out about an empty bakery at the corner of Niagara and Main streets in the City of Tonawanda. She looked at the site with her sister, Christine Carr, who encouraged her to take the chance.
“She said, ‘We have to do this,’ ” Mallare recalled. “ ‘If we don’t, we’re never going to know.’ ”
That dream has finally come to fruition with the new Magpie’s Bake Shop & Cafe at 38 Niagara St., Tonawanda, operated by Mallare, Carr and their mother, Christine “Maggie” Smith.
On a recent weekday, the shop’s cases were full of mini cheesecakes, full-size cheesecakes (including Oreo peanut butter chocolate and lemon raspberry), apple crisps, cake pops, key lime pies, brownies, cookies, turnovers and an array of cupcakes.
Mallare, a single mother of two daughters and Kenmore West graduate who still works at The Village Inn, plans to offer an ever-changing slate of treats, including bread puddings, shortcakes with strawberries or peaches and her mother’s apple dumplings
“I want to do all the old-school, rustic stuff that just makes your tummy and your heart feel good,” she said. “(Growing up) we had dessert every day, pudding or Jell-O, but on the weekends it was always something from scratch, homemade, and that’s what we’re all about. ... I think that keeps us apart from other bakeries.”