Happy Chicks Bakery owners Jessica Bechtel and Jana Douglass met in 2001 while working together as exhibit designers at a local landmark. It was not a pleasant work environment; the pair was referred to as, “The Painter Chicks,” and it wasn’t a term of endearment. But, as Bechtel says, “It was because nobody ever really bothered to remember our names.”
Both Bechtel and Douglass were vegans before they met and soon began baking vegan goods together as a way to produce food that they enjoyed and weren’t able to find in stores.
Neither Bechtel nor Douglass has any formal pastry training, but they began baking vegan treats not only for themselves but also for coworkers — especially copious amounts of cupcakes and cookies around Christmastime — always receiving positive feedback.
After two years of baking out of Bechtel’s home, the growing business made it clear that a larger space was needed. The business was taking over every inch of living space, and the women wanted to open a café to be able to expand from baked goods to savory options. When the former Take the Cake space in Northside became available, the women jumped. For now, the bakery offers cakes, cookies, cupcakes, pies and more, all with fresh, seasonal flavors. Inspiration comes from everywhere, including, Douglass says, “menus from respected restaurants, millions of food magazines and blogs. We’re self-described ‘food nerds.’ ”
Music by Ike Wilhelm.