Parkland Place Bakery & Bistro now open. You must try the cheesecake
Like a lot of food businesses opening in 2021, Susan Krogh’s bakery and bistro was born out of a pivot during the pandemic.
Locals will know her as the Susan behind Just Call Susan Catering. Now she’s the force behind Parkland Place Bakery and Bistro. She opened Parkland Place earlier this summer. Last month, she started offering Saturday morning breakfast service and she plans to start dinner service Aug. 28. The space features a bakery and bistro, plus a commissary kitchen for small food businesses.
“When the pandemic hit and my very full schedule that brought me lots of income from catering, it totally dissolved,” explained Krogh, who made her living helping people plan parties big and small.
“I spent a couple months, maybe more, on my couch with my bags of salt and vinegar potato chips binge watching movies and reading. Then I said, I’ve gained 20 pounds, I said ‘This is enough. This is not healthy. You’re not being good to your body or your mental health. I had to pick myself up and I had to decide what I was going to do.”
What she did was bake cheesecakes. That’s how she landed on my radar a year ago when Delish Bakery in Steilacoom opened and Delish owner Lisa Holmgren started selling Krogh’s cheesecakes. Krogh, also sold her mini cheesecakes at the Steilacoom Farmers Market. “I think I made 50 or 75 cheesecakes the first week and they all sold out,” she said.
Holmgren and Krogh forged a partnership that carried Krogh through tough times. “It is so nice to be able to feature her cheesecakes and have that additional offering at my place. I’m so excited for her new adventure. I also love having someone else that I can refer customers to when we are booked. We are all part of the same baking/small business family and it’s so awesome to be able to work together and collaborate,” said Holmgren of Krogh.
Focusing on her cheesecake side business allowed Krogh time to regroup and plan her next step. With her lease up at her catering space she had for four years, she knew she had to do some next-stage planning. She’s no stranger to long-term planning and pivoting with little notice. She and her husband are both former military. She served four years before exiting the Army. Her husband spent three decades in the Army. Krogh was born in Trinidad and immigrated to the United States when her parents moved here to attend college.
The couple moved continuously while in the military and been stationed in Hawaii, San Antonio, Colorado, Germany and beyond.
Post-military, he’s a hospital administrator and she runs the family’s catering business.
STARTING HER NEXT CHAPTER
When she started researching the idea for a bakery and bistro, she found the strip-mall location for her Parkland Place Bakery and Bistro. The space is in the same shopping center as Kolby’s, the excellent doughnut bakery, and brings lots of traffic from nearby Pacific.
It was a space she could operate as a combination bakery-bistro that could be open to the public, but also could serve as a commissary home base for other caterers and small food businesses.
At her previous tiny catering commissary location, which was not open to the public, her space was home base to several food businesses, including Erin Powell of Girl Loves Cake Desserts and Stacks, the burger food truck. Stacks still uses Parkland Place as a commissary base, while Powell has moved into her own space in Lakewood.
Those are Powell’s macarons in the display case at the bakery. And those biscotti by the register at Parkland Place? Those are biscotti by Rhonda Hamlin of The Art of Crunch, a bakery in Tacoma. The chocolates come from Blissful Wunders. The candied pecans are from The Brown Pecan, a client who also uses Parkland Place as a commissary kitchen.
“I wanted to be able to maintain my catering and so I felt that I just needed to be so diverse because when the pandemic hit, basically I had people who were renting from me and were relying on me,” she said. That’s why Parkland Place is a business with a flexible business model. Parkland Place allows Krogh to explore all her multiple specialties – baking, catering, custom cake baking – but her space also helps her fellow small business owners.
SCRATCH-MADE FOOD AND A BAKERY CASE
Her meals are focused on whole ingredients and from-scratch recipes. Krogh’s a fan of keeping things simple. “I wanted to do a light breakfast, so quiche and breakfast burritos and ham and cheese croissants that I can prepare quickly. Then for lunch we have soup, salads and sandwiches. Plus we have our vegan menu. I’ve been really working hard on that.”
Several lunch dishes will appeal to meat-free diners, such as a vegan version of a gyro sandwich ($12), a vegan barbacoa burrito ($12) and a vegan BLT sandwich ($8.75). On her Saturday breakfast menu, she’s got a vegan breakfast sandwich ($12) and a vegan version of her breakfast burrito ($13.50). She also stocks the bakery case with vegan items, including her specialty – vegan cheesecakes. She also makes vegan cupcakes and vegan lemon bars. “I can’t keep the vegan desserts in stock,” she said. “People have been special ordering them by the dozen. .. I never thought it would be so popular.”
Her lunch menu items are spectacularly priced, especially considering those lunch items come with a choice of pasta salad, potato salad or chips. Diners can choose from a curry chickpea salad sandwich ($8.25), two hoagies ($9.25), a BLT ($8.25) and roast beef grilled cheese ($9.25), plus other options. Be sure to check out the entree salads and soups.
About that breakfast. It’s served Saturdays (check social for updates on breakfast service before you head there) and let me tell you that you’re going to want to get a bite of her croissant french toast.
She stuffs flaky croissants with either strawberries and cream cheese or Nutella and then grills the French toast-sants until the edges turn crunchy. Inside is a mess of sweet goo and the entire dish is topped with maple syrup (the real stuff), sliced fruit and a plop of whipped cream ($13.75). Flanked by fresh fruit, this is a must-try dish.
There’s also a tasty salmon flatbread with onions and capers ($13.50), plus biscuits and gravy ($12.50), a breakfast burrito ($12) and lighter fare like an acai-yogurt bowl ($8) and a plain croissant ($4.25), among other items.
Complete your trip with a visit to the bakery case for macarons from Girl Loves Cake Desserts or biscotti from Tacoma’s Art of Crunch. Also find Krogh’s cupcakes, decorated with a fluffy toupee of buttercream, as well as cookies, cookie bars from Krogh, and handmade truffles from Blissful Wunders. Get the truffle made with Maker’s Mark. It carries a high-octane punch with a slap-you-in-the-face boozy finish.
And the cheesecake made by Krogh. Oh, that cheesecake. I have not yet tried the vegan version, but the full-fat all-dairy version is as good as cheesecake gets around here. Her mini cheesecakes are a perfect portion for two, and priced $10 each, so more than affordable. The texture skews more fluffy than dense and I love Krogh’s affinity for incorporating fruit flavors. A key lime was a decadent treat goosed with just enough lime to turn it subtly tart. Last summer, at Delish, I picked up a triple berry cheesecake with an abundance of fresh fruit that tumbled down the sides of that velvety cheesecake. I pledge to grab the strawberry lemonade cheesecake if I see it in her display case again.
PARKLAND PLACE BAKERY & BISTRO
Where: 14906 Pacific Ave. S., Tacoma
Catering website: https://www.justcallsusan.com/