The following letter was submitted to Patch by Joe Ramaikas and Felice Ecker, owners of The Cupcake Corral in Maplewood.
It's hard to believe, but this week marks two years since The Cupcake Corral opened its doors on Ridgewood Road. We’ve learned quite a bit, been surprised more often than not and, now, it’s time to look to the future of our little bakery.
My wife, Felice, my son, Hank and I moved to Maplewood in 2006. In the summer of 2008, after 8 years of working in the music industry, I decided to make a career change and launched The Cupcake Corral. Baking had always been a passion. My cupcakes were inspired by generations of my wife and my family’s recipes. Word spread, soon I was catering parties and events for neighbors and even some of my former music clients, such as Tori Amos!
In 2010 a perfect space opened off the beaten path and - ta-da! - They Might Be Giants were rocking out in our backyard to celebrate the opening of The Cupcake Corral’s brand new storefront! Our first year was great! The year to follow had some highs, but we are still trying to regain our footing from the lows. No one said opening a bakery and cafe would be easy. As we fight to keep our doors open, we watched two friends with great cafes and other local food businesses close theirs. BUT thanks to our incredible and dedicated patrons, we are hanging in there!
One thing we’ve always wanted was to grow the bakery into a full service cafe, to offer more than just delicious baked goods and fabulous coffee. The Cupcake Corral has always offered more than just cupcakes and has since we opened. With a name like The Cupcake Corral it took awhile for people to wrap their heads around that we’re more than that, however. We’ve offered frittatas, soups, chili, home made granola, ice cream sandwiches and even hosted a multi-course prix fixe brunch during Maplewood’s inaugural Restaurant Week.
We have decided that we want to move in this direction and become a cafe offering breakfast, lunch and possibly an early supper. We even have a new name, soon to be unveiled. We will continue to offer our full line of cupcakes, layer cakes, pies, cookies, brownies and more, but will expand our menu to offer healthy, yet comforting savory food.
This is where YOU come in.
More or less, we know how to run a coffee shop and bakery. Though we have a passion for food, running a café that serves 2-3 meals a day and, hopefully, brunch, well, that’s a horse of a different color and we need YOUR help to realize it. We need a business partner. Ideally we are looking for someone with restaurant and cafe experience, but we are open to considering someone with a serious passion for great food, great baked goods and, of course, great coffee.
We are looking forward to this next part of our journey. Email Joe at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are seriously interested in joining us.
With Love & Gratitude, The Cupcake Corral.