Southern Girl Bakery opens in Dover, New Hampshire
DOVER – When Romonia Daniel was a little girl, she spent every weekend in the kitchen with her grandmother, Lela Heard, watching her cook and bake without recipe cards.
Romonia’s grandfather was a preacher in Georgia, so before and after church on Sundays, her grandmother prepared a storm for the members of the congregation who then gathered at their homes.
“My grandma was one of those ‘I need a pinch of this and a pinch of that’ kind of bakers,” Romonia said Thursday, beckoning little pinches of ingredients with her. hands. “She didn’t use measuring cups or anything. I’d just be sitting at the table watching her cook. When you’re 7 or 8 years old, you moan and complain about it. But that’s how I learned, and that’s where I get my love of baking.
Over the years, Romonia’s life has always brought her back to baking. After working in grocery bakeries and later managing Dunkin Donuts, Romonia worked hard to save money for her own bakery.
Now, as a grandmother herself, Romonia is making that dream come true. She and her daughter Courtney this week opened A Southern Girl Bakery in downtown Dover, at 10 Fourth St. in suite 102.
The bakery’s offerings are entirely inspired by Lela’s recipes and their roots in rural Georgia.
“We really wanted to bring that southern feel and flavor to New England and stay true to that part of who we are,” Courtney said.
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Although Courtney said she didn’t inherit her mother’s cooking skills, she learned from her determination and passion. Romonia is the mastermind of the baker, Courtney is the general manager, brand marketing and a designer.
Courtney’s sons, aged 11, 14 and 15, have also been implicated. Her youngest Kavery, 11, enjoys watching her grandmother Romonia cook, so their story has come full circle in many ways, Romonia said. The couple joke that one day they will take over the business.
“Cooked with love”
The bakery counter is lined with colorful displays of specialty cupcakes, cookies, cakes and other sweets. A Southern Girl Bakery offers personalized cakes ordered for special occasions like birthdays, holidays and weddings. Orders can be placed online or by phone.
Most of the candy is Southern inspired, so you can find items like Mississippi Mud Pie Bars and Southern Caramel Cupcakes.
“A lot of people have said to me, ‘Romonia, it’s so good we can taste love’, and I’m like, ‘You should because I love what I do,’ Romonia said with a smile “I wanted to be able to share my love and joy with everyone through baking. I want everyone to feel this to make them feel welcome, that’s what we southerners do.”
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Two of their most popular items are expected to be Kavery’s Red Velvet Cupcakes and Confetti Cupcakes, the latter named after Courtney’s youngest son. The cupcake can be made vegan, gluten-free, or traditional.
The shop offers a variety of gluten-free options, keeping in mind those with food allergies, like Courtney’s sons. With a lot of trial and error over the years, Romonia has worked on the perfect recipes to expand options for people with food allergies.
“He wanted an item on the menu that was named after him, and it’s the most popular so far,” Courtney said.
One item you wouldn’t expect to see in a bakery is sweet tea. A Southern Girl Bakery offers two homemade recipes. Including a refreshing mint tea, inspired by the tea Lela infused with mint leaves that she grew herself.
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Courtney said she has received a lot of positive reviews for authentic southern “tea bag tea”, which means it is brewed with natural flavors and ingredients without artificial flavors.
“I’m glad we can sprinkle that flavor here in New England, where someone can kind of feel connected to things and to each other,” Courtney said.
During the holidays, the owners of the bakery plan to offer southern pies, cornbread muffins, German chocolate cake and other sweets.
“We try to stay true to what we would do if we were home and it was Thanksgiving or some other family reunion,” Courtney said.
A dream for life
As a nod to Grandma Lela, the mother and daughter duo created a chalkboard wall where the community can write down what their grandmothers say, be it life and cooking tips. , or anything else.
Decorations throughout the bakery are a nod to southern culture, including a “Hey ya’ll” wall that greets customers as they walk through the door. Romonia and Courtney say they hope to share a sense of southern hospitality with their customers, and the bakery can be a place that fosters a sense of community and a love of sweets.
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Eventually, when concerns over the coronavirus pandemic subside, they plan to add seating to help create a sense of place to come together.
“Growing up, Mom was always in the kitchen. Inspired by the woman who taught him to cook, this bakery has always been his passion, his dream, ”said Courtney. “She would even start making dessert for us before we cook dinner, you know?” She taught me that if you have a dream, no matter how old or young you are, you will make that dream come true.
During a conversation with her daughter, Romonia once said, “I’m ready to do it. Courtney replied: “There is no going back now.” And she is committed to helping her mother’s dream come true. Courtney started looking for local commercial real estate and found a place. She said Romonia was thrilled to see the blank canvas space turn into a bakery.
“I’m thrilled and so happy that we’re open, and they were at this place,” Romonia said, putting her arm around her daughter. “I’ve wanted it for as long as I can remember, and here it is.”