Beurres de Bretagne are on the rise.
Don Reilly’s specialty butter company started in 2019, but over the past year it has gained a partner, morphed into a corporation and, more recently, found a storefront.
Brittany’s Butters and Gourmet Bakery is set to open in late November at 544 Lincoln Ave. at Winnetka – the former home of Bake HomeMade Pizza Company.
“We were targeting all the suburbs around Winnetka and we drove through Winnetka and saw this business district and fell in love with it immediately,” Reilly said. “It was a vibe that just hit us in the car.”
Of course, it wasn’t that easy.
Reilly developed Brittany’s Butters – named after his daughter who helps with the business – following his career as a restaurant chef. He describes finishing butters more as sauces used for ready meals than cooking, and he started in 2019 showing them to friends through cooking demonstrations.
Word spread, and as home demonstrations increased, so did sales. But then the pandemic hit and people avoided indoor gatherings, especially with strangers.
Reilly pivoted to a ghost kitchen and added baked goods to complement the butters, but said he “couldn’t show up in front of enough people” to build momentum.
Then, in late 2021, he met Kristen Hackathorn, a baker from northeast Ohio, on the social media app TikTok, where Hackathorn came across one of Reilly’s inspirational videos.
As the two got to know each other, they cooked up a collaboration: Brittany’s Butters and Kristen’s Baked Goods could be a sweet combination.
“We created a spiritual connection and the business became part of it,” Reilly said. “The meeting on TikTok was just the opening of the door.”
The couple first tried their concept in Ohio but, looking for a more populated area, brought it back to Chicagoland in March and found the Winnetka storefront soon after.
The space will feature a front and center counter for Reilly to continue cooking demonstrations with the butters, which range from sweet (three berries and citrus) to savory (honey roasted garlic and pesto) at $9 for a dozen of 6 ounces “buttons.”
A production kitchen and retail bakery will also be included and enhanced by Kristen’s scones, cookies and pies, such as her specialty, apple from the orchard. The mix will also include more unique items, like Biscone Pudding (cookie-scone), Pie Bites, and Sweet Buns (actually sweet, like Orange Glaze and Buttermilk Cinnamon).
They believe their products fill a void in the community and do not want to serve identical products to other stores, such as Hometown Coffee and Juice across Lincoln Avenue.
“There’s a lot of uniqueness to our business,” Reilly said. “We’re keen on not being one of the five…of those traditional stuff you can get at Mariano or other bakeries. We are going to become a niche bakery.
The gourmet bakery will also serve a custom coffee mix and bread knots – both products branded “87”, a nod to Reilly and Hackathorn’s birthdays, which add up (month number plus date plus year ) to 1987.
“We believe in the magic of numerology and have embraced the 87 mantra,” Reilly said. “We have yet to meet a couple who have the same magic with their birthdays. It’s very unique.
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