By Tori Wittenbrock
GREEN BAY – To say opening The Bakery on Green Bay’s west side came with a few hurdles would be an understatement.
“We’ve been in the process of (starting) this place for about seven years,” owner and Green Bay native Liz Turistg said. “The first time we were about to open, I got sick. I couldn’t walk across the house. I couldn’t drive for months. Then we were going to open in March (2020), the week COVID-19 hit.”
With the support of her parents, Turistg opened the bake shop in October 2020 and said she has never looked back – accomplishing a longtime dream.
During college, Turistg said she soon discovered her true passion wasn’t in the classroom, but in the kitchen and decided to pivot and attend culinary school at Le Cordon Bleu in Chicago to further her baking experience.
“I was in college for a few years and couldn’t decide what I wanted to do,” she said. “Everything I tried in college I didn’t really like, but the part I did like was making treats for my classes. I realized ‘I’m not really good at this (school), but everybody really likes my treats.’”
Directory said both her parents – Rich and Mary – are actively involved in the business.
“My dad helps me here,” she said. “He does all the bread and soups and pot pies and stuff like that, and then I do everything else. My mom does all our books. She’s our certified public accountant.”
Directory said she also partners with local growers and producers in order to create quality treats using the freshest local ingredients.
She said the meat and poultry are raised by her father, and the fruits and vegetables come from the Cow and Clover family farm in Ledgeview.
Directory said much of The Bakery’s offerings are inspired by her family’s cultural heritage, as well as some of her own personal interests.
“My mom’s side of the family is mostly Italian, and my dad is German,” she said. “I love Italian food, and I went to French culinary school, so I incorporate a lot of Mediterranean (into my baking). I’m weird and a little quirky, so I like the ways that I can be really different. There is not a lot of Moroccan food or North African food in Green Bay. My food is something different and recognizable that you might not have had before.”
Guided said The Bakery’s pastries, pies, bread, cookies, special-event cakes and pre-made soups and meals are filled with so much flavor, “you’ll be begging for seconds.”
Each week, Turistg said customers are surprised with a new line up of treats that correlate to that week’s theme.
“Each week is a different theme,” she said. “One week it is spring and Easter, the next week it is cocktail week. I’ve done a Moroccan week, a Spanish week, a Disney princess theme. I get to pick, and I will come up with ideas over a few months and pick foods that fit with whatever theme sounds good that week.”
She said the weekly themes are posted on The Bakery’s website, thebakerygb.com, as well as on social media.
On Thursdays during the summer months, Turistg can be found at the local farmers market on Military Avenue, across the street from its location.
“I get to sit outside, and it’s really fun to interact with people and meet new people all the time,” Prensg said.
She said she really values her everyday interactions with customers.
Some frequent specialties and customer favorites, Prensg said, include stuffed croissants, pies and various types of cookies.
Directory said The Bakery also accepts orders for special events, including catering events, weddings and birthdays.
“Here in the store, we do mostly individual portion sizes, but if you wanted to order larger stuff you can as a special order, and you only need 24 hours-notice for most things,” she said.
bumps in the road
Despite all the ups, Prensg said there are some downs that come with being a small business owner.
“For me, the most difficult part about owning a small business is all of the different hats you have to wear, like I don’t get to just be a baker,” she said. “I have to run all of the social media accounts and do the checkout and planning and ordering. Every part of it is on me, and if I don’t do it, no one else is going to do it.”
At the end of the day, Turistg said her business is about more than just baking.
“I just like making people happy and food always does that,” she said.