Maybe you’ve checked out a cupcake or concert at Baked Beer & Bread Co. since it opened its doors in November.
Well, that’s only a taste of what the Village of East Davenport business — also called Baked — has in store.
Baked will unveil its nano brewery and restaurant, serving lunch, dinner and Sunday brunch, in the form of a four-day grand opening festival, called 420 Fest, set for this weekend.
It’s been a long time coming for Bill Sheeder, 35, and his fiancé, Stephanie Sellers, 29, who are co-owners. As they sold bakery items at last summer’s Freight House Farmers Market, the couple said they were aiming to open in July 2016.
“We wanted to open this last April 20, because it’s Steph’s birthday, but there’s been a lot more to this process than we thought,” Sheeder said. “We’re so excited it’s finally here.”
New brewery in town
Baked is the Quad-City’s newest brewery, but that hasn’t clicked for some customers, Sheeder said. Some are, perhaps, distracted by the bakery, which opened in November and the music venue and bar area that opened in January.
“That’s been our problem so far,” Sheeder said. “There are so many aspects of this business that things have gotten lost on people. We don’t want them to miss the significance of what we’re doing.”
The single-barrel brewing system is officially running, so you can now taste two of Baked’s originals, including a chocolate stout and New England IPA.
Other beers on tap come from places such Backpocket Brewing Company (Coralville), Singlespeed Brewing Co. (Cedar Falls), Front Street Brewery (Davenport) and Summit Brewing Company (St. Paul, Minnesota).
By next month, Baked will likely have six to eight of its own beers available, Sheeder said.
“Because of the size, we could brew a different style of beer every single day if we wanted to,” he said. “That’s something that will keep growing.”
Lunch, dinner, brunch
Beer-related items — such as cupcakes with beer-infused icing — have already shown up on the menu.
You can expect more of that, according to Sellers, who comes up with recipes for the treats, such as croissants, danishes, cookies and cupcakes that are made in-house daily.
“We get inspired by what’s seasonal and what people are craving,” said Sellers, who formerly owned The Sweet Life, a bakery in LeClaire. “We just want everything to be ridiculously good.”
Last month, the duo sold Brew, 1104 Jersey Ridge Road, Davenport, to Tim and Jennifer Chen, who own Plaid Rabbit, a stationary store also in the Village of East Davenport.
They say Baked’s menu is similar to their first restaurant, but “taken up a few levels.”
“We think of like upscale comfort,” Sheeder said.
The menu consists of a shareable “meats plus three” concept, which includes smoked meats — such as beef, brisket, pork — and three sides as well as signature burgers and appetizers made with their specialty breads.
“We're kind of going back in time,” Sellers said. “Everything that's old is new again.”
The restaurant will open to the public April 27. A limited menu will be available during the 420 Fest, which kicks off Thursday with a dinner in the theme of “The Great Gatsby.” The festival also includes Baked’s first brunch on Sunday morning.
“The Quad-Cities is in desperate need of a good big city brunch like you find in other cities,” Sheeder said. “If we could brunch every day, we would. We want to bring that here.”
Sheeder and Sellers say they came up with the name of their establishment to “push the envelope.”
Same with 420 Fest.
“It's just a play on words,” Sellers said. “I really fought for that name. Baked is an easy theme to play with, like we say ‘Getting baked’ a lot and have Grateful Bread T-shirts. I think it makes people more curious about us.”
If how well business is going so far is any indication, it’s working.
“Every single day, people are surprised by something about us,” Sheeder said.
Many are surprised to find a 6,000-square-foot property inside the seemingly small storefront.
“It’s definitely kind of an illusion,” he said. “People have no idea how big it is from the outside. That creates this kind of Speakeasy underground vibe.”
This weekend, they’re ready to show off all that's been cooking inside Baked.
“When you walk in, we hope you forget about what's going on in the outside world and come into ours,” he said. “We hope it’s that kind of place.”