Shortly before this article was published in our November/December issue, Thy Vu, co-owner of Mims Bakery, was killed in a car crash when a suspected drunk driver in a police pursuit struck her vehicle. To donate to Tripp Mims and their children, visit this GoFundMe. Friends of Vu’s started the community organization Live Like Thy and are currently working on a memorial fund in her name. Mims is now advocating for policy changes in police pursuits and continues to run Mims Bakery.
Plenty of us rediscovered the joys of home baking in 2020 and beyond. Some Utahns turned that joy into small businesses. Cottage bakers make small batches of food in home kitchens, promote themselves on social media and field pickup and delivery orders for their (literally) homemade goods. These Utah microbakeries either started or grew significantly during the pandemic as traditional storefronts became less essential, food delivery exploded and many of us spent our days at home hungrily scrolling through Instagram. In a challenging landscape, this model offers a different way forward: locally-focused, collaborative and appealingly small-scale.
If, like me, you spent more of the pandemic watching The Great British Baking Show than nurturing a sourdough starter, Mims Bakery’s classic sourdough is the perfect way to get your homemade bread fix. Husband-and-wife duo Tripp Mims and Thy Vu started Mims Bakery out of necessity when Tripp was laid off as a sous-chef at the now-closed Alamexo. “We have always passively baked for fun and for ourselves, but with a lot of downtime after Tripp was furloughed, he started baking for family and friends to pass the time,” Vu says. They started with a “small but mighty” Rofco bread oven in their own kitchen before converting their garage to a mini-bakery. Along with traditional breads, they sell seasonal menu items highlighting local ingredients, like tomato and basil grown in their own garden. Tripp and Vu, the bakery’s only employees, regularly collaborate with friends, neighbors and other local businesses while fundraising for community organizations like Salt Lake Community Mutual Aid and Black Visions Collective. “It is an opportunity to get good food into bellies while also making a difference together as a community,” Vu says.
POWDER PEAK SWEETS
Powder Peak Sweets owner Jayden Brennan started using Instagram as a platform to share baked goods she made for fun. By summer 2020, Jayden harnessed a growing social media following to start her own business with her sister Sarah and boyfriend Jordan. (Jayden admits Jordan “kind of just got thrown into the whole baking thing, but I wouldn’t be able to do it without him.”) Jayden’s specialty is cronies, decadent donuts made with flaky layers of croissant dough. Powder Peak Sweets regularly updates their menu with flavor combinations like vanilla espresso and peach bourbon brown sugar, but you can’t go wrong with the classic cinnamon sugar combo. Jayden, who still works full-time at the University of Utah, says she hopes to continue growing as a microbakery before upsizing to a storefront. “We have received tremendous support from our community,” she says. “We would never be where we are today without them.”
PIES THE LIMIT
“I’ve always had an infatuation with cooking,” says Pies the Limit owner Dominique Wilson. Wilson started selling homemade pies online as a side hustle in 2017. Last year, Pies the Limit (Instagram: @pies_the_limitut) received a surge of attention as growing awareness of racial justice inspired more interest in Black-owned businesses online. “One thing that I’ve always felt isn’t taught enough in the Black community is owning your own business,” he says. “I want to leave my future children with something they can call their own.” Sharing a kitchen with friends Geoff and Mia Patmides, who co-own Taylorsville’s The Local Greek, Wilson sells both dessert and dinner pies, including his signature creation, a silky smooth blueberry sour cream pie. “Being able to call myself a business owner makes me more proud than anything,” he says. As his one-man operation continues to grow, Wilson has a simple message to readers: “These pies are damn good. Come and get you some!”
Read more about food and drink in Utah.