Greetings, I am Gary Somenek the owner of The Sugar Tree. My introduction to Baking began when I was 10 years old. I would take the bus from our home and meet my father at his moonlighting gig at Lutz Continental Pastries in Chicago. My father a European trained baker made cookies 4 nights a week after his day job as an elevator mechanic. I would stand at the dough sheeter and cut cookies by hand with a cookie cutter, Racks and racks of cookies. My father prepared the doughs and sent them my way. He and another baker made the spritz cookies bagging them out with a pastry bag. There is something about baking that gets in your blood and stays with you.
Growing up we would pass this intersection going to a family friend’s house and my father would always comment If I could put a bakery here it would be a goldmine. I was a freshman in college and I happened to pass this intersection on my way to school on a daily basis. His comment occurred to me one day when I noticed this new shopping center under construction. I told my father about this and he went about gathering information about opening a bakery. Long story short, “Somenek Pastries and Cafe “was born.
Somenek Pastries was categorized as a “Konditorei” when translated from German means Cake Shop. Our offerings were Austrian Pastries and Cakes. Many people speak of French Pastries but the Austrians are considered the best Pastry Chefs in Europe. My family and I ran Somenek Pastries until 2004. I had a very bad accident, falling into a sewer which took me two years to recover. I was no longer able to make wedding cakes 10 to 12 hours a day. I sold my portion of the company to my brothers and entered the world of technical bakery sales.
Scrolling through Craigslist I found the for sale ad for Sugar Tree. On a whim I decided to enquire. All the pieces fit and fell into place and I decided to jump in feet first. I mentioned earlier in this missive that “something about baking gets in your blood” . I’m back I’m hooked and couldn’t be happier.