Story and photos by Amanda McKnight
The Shakopee Bakery has been closed for retail sales for more than three years, but a long-time Shakopee couple has plans to knead life back into it and open as Bittner’s Bakery this fall.
Lauri and Don Bittner started imagining Bittner’s Bakery in October 2019, after Don was laid off from his job of nearly 30 years. Sitting beneath the iconic Shakopee Bakery sign one day, he thought to himself, “Too bad there’s not a bakery open in town.”
The couple had toyed with the idea of opening a restaurant or food truck, but after Don had that epiphany under the bakery sign, the path seemed clear.
“It kind of fills a niche that Shakopee doesn’t have,” Lauri said. “When (Don) got laid off, he said he wanted to do something different and new. That’s kind of how this started — besides sitting in front of the bakery that one Sunday morning in October,” she laughed.
The idea of buying the building took off more seriously around Christmas, when the Bittners started discussing their interest with Bruce and Shirley Garness, who have owned Shakopee Bakery for more than 40 years.
With the building purchase nearly final, the Bittners are excited to start bringing the structure up to code and renovating the inside. They intend to recognize the history of the bakery amid the renovation. Even the iconic bakery sign and awning will remain, though they will be changed to reflect the bakery’s updated name.
“We want to pay homage to the previous owners of the building. It’s always been a bakery,” Lauri said.
Bakery enthusiasts can try the new Bittner recipes and also take their taste buds back in time with the Garness’ recipes from Shakopee Bakery.
“We’re going to have a lot of Bruce’s tried and true recipes,” Lauri said. “We’ll also have gluten free and sugar free sections. We want you to be able to have coffee, donuts, danishes. We’d like to have an internet bar with a (high-top) table and bar stools looking out the window.”
The Bittners also plan to renovate the three-bedroom, 1,320 square foot apartment that sits atop the bakery. It hasn’t been rented out since the 1970s, Lauri said.
After finalizing the building purchase, the Bittners have several steps to take before the bakery will be ready for patrons, but the couple is hopeful they can open sometime in fall 2020 with 6:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday hours.
“We’re excited,” Lauri said. “We’re back; the bakery is back!”