Eileen Brown traces the edge of a red velvet cake with buttercream while a dozen kitchen staffers scurry around her, a familiar red-and-white logo on their black shirts.
She's baking again. And she couldn't be happier.
A few weeks after the unexpected closure of her bakery of 22 years, How Sweet It Is, Brown has joined the Duluth Grill, bringing recipes and staff and high expectations for what comes next.
"I'm so excited. I didn't see this coming," Brown said last week. "We're going to hit it out of the park."
Cakes, cupcakes and more will soon be available for grab-and-go from the front of the Lincoln Park restaurant, and the baked goods will also be available for special order, joining Duluth Grill's growing catering business.
"We're always going to team up with the best," said Duluth Grill's Rene Sheridan, who used to work at Brown's bakery. "Working with her meant so much to me and my career. This is a great opportunity for the community and for Duluth Grill."
How Sweet It Is closed its location in the Holiday Center last month, citing financial pressure, which caused an outpouring of community condolences and support.
"I need to say thank you for all the support from the community. It's been a real blessing and lesson in humility," Brown said.
How the bakery will be integrated into the menu remains to be seen, Sheridan said.
"We're going to get our feet wet," he said, adding the boost Brown and her staff will give to Duluth Grill Catering will be immediate: "We're going to be a one-stop shop."