Longtime Oak Harbor residents will recognize a baked good staple, although its doors open to a new location on the north end of town.
Chris’ Bakery reopened in November in what used to be a laundromat. Despite construction difficulties and COVID-19, the bakery has opened its doors to sweet tooths and those looking for a nostalgic bite.
Meghan Deater is the granddaughter of the first baker to open the store. She remembered working in the bakery, sprinkling something and hoped to come back to the family business.
“I wanted to get it back to its roots of being a full-line bakery,” Deater said.
After a run in real estate and living on the East Coast, she’s moved back to Whidbey with her family. She has also become the head of the business, although she’s still learning the sweeter points of baking from her parents.
Weeks before the bakery reopened, Deater introduced herself to the community on social media. She addressed concerns about her father’s 2017 comments in a Whidbey News-Times article, and on social media, in which the elder baker sparked a debate about making wedding cakes for same-sex weddings.
“That situation was unfortunate. I did not agree with it, and we have had numerous discussions in private about how the business would operate,” she wrote.
Though he shared his stance on his personal Facebook page, sparking a heated community debate, Deater claims her father’s comments were taken out of context. She said the bakery has since made cakes for gay weddings.
“I love my dad very much, but we don’t always agree,” she said.
There are some cakes that the bakery can’t do, she admitted, explaining that picture-perfect Pinterest cakes involving fondant or special flavors like tres leches (a tasty Mexican recipe) are beyond the bakery’s abilities.
Now, Deater is focused on keeping her grandfather’s recipes while also trying something new. She said she hopes to serve biscuits and gravy soon, and her husband would like to add a deli counter. The new location also has a drive-thru which is crucial during COVID-19 restrictions.
Deater said it’s been a busy first few weeks with people coming in for the homemade almond croissants (she said it really is their own almond paste filling, not marzipan) and other treats.
Although she’s still learning the ins and outs of baking from her parents, Deater said she was ready for the challenge.
“I feel like moving here, there’s this time for me to step up as owner of the family business.”