By Colette Panchot
Penny Romero, co-owner of Penny’s Bakery, along with GM and Executive Pastry Chef Brittany Brittin, hosted a festive and fragrant grand opening and ribbon-cutting at the family-owned donut shop and bakery at 13109 Holmes Road in Martin City, on May 4.
Dignitaries and well-wishers noshed on mouth-watering samples of donuts and baked specialties. Helping Brittin cut the ceremonial ribbon were Andrea Bough, 6th District At-Large City Councilwoman, and Vicki Wolgast, President of the South Kansas City Chamber of Commerce. They were joined by other chamber members, Martin City business owners, customers, and campaigning politicians.
Brittin trained as a pastry chef in San Francisco and later worked at the Intercontinental Hotel in Kansas City. She and the Penny’s Bakery team make the batter, icing, and pastry fillings from scratch. A pair of employees specialize in making the fresh donuts from machinery that was purchased from the recently closed Hurtz Donuts at Ward Parkway Center.
The curved bakery cases allow maximum viewing of a colorful selection of scones, Danish pastries, cookies, brownies, lemon bars, muffins, cinnamon rolls, apple fritters, filled buns, protein bites, yeast or cake donuts, and more.
“Scones are our number one best seller, followed by cinnamon rolls, brownies, and cupcakes. Our customers tell us the scones are the ‘best ever,’ and they are my favorite to make,” Brittin said.
Penny’s Bakery also offers fresh-baked tortillas and breads, such as focaccia, white, brioche, and baguettes. Refreshments, such as coffee, milk, juice, and kombucha are available.
The bakery features covered outdoor seating, and the interior lobby is an airy, well-lit space with red table-tops and tile accents. Customers may prefer to use the drive-through window for in-person orders or to pick up online orders.
Brittin has received requests for gluten-free items, and in the coming weeks will offer daily gluten-free muffins and Danish pastries. Gluten-free breads are currently available by pre-order only. In addition, the team is considering recipes based on Romero’s Dominican, Puerto Rican, and Venezuelan heritage, which are often handed down in the oral tradition.
Romero also co-owns Martin City Coffee Shop nextdoor to the bakery with co-owner Rick Ramsey. The two had previously owned and operated Ramsey’s Burgers at the bakery’s current location. Like other restaurants that have struggled with staffing challenges during the pandemic, Ramsey’s restaurant closed late last year.
Being entrepreneurs, they were not deterred. The elements to re-open the space as a bakery came together, and Ramsey insisted it be named after Romero.
While it may seem odd to have two similar shops serving pastries and beverages, Penny’s Bakery primarily intends to be a pastry wholesaler to coffee shops in the metropolitan area, as there are currently just one or two local providers that corner the market. Their retail service is a secondary focus.
Brittin says there is cross-over between the two adjacent locations, including the fresh pastries being served at the coffee shop and the fresh tortillas being used to wrap the popular breakfast burritos.
“Some customers will eat breakfast at the bakery and then eat lunch at the coffee shop the same day,” Brittin said.
She was inspired to become a professional pastry chef while enjoying her grandmother’s Sunday dinners. One summer, the aspiring chef made 15 different pies and vowed to make an apple pie that rivaled her mentor’s creations.
Brittin is now following in her grandmother’s footsteps by crossing-training those interested team members who want to learn to bake cookies the professional way.
“People are calling in and affirming my life-long goal of becoming a pastry chef. It’s wonderful,” Brittin said.
Online ordering is available at www.pennysbakerykc.com or at 816-800-4095. The bakery is open Monday through Saturday from 6 a.m.-2 p.m., while supplies last.