Beth’s Little Bake Shop (1814 Central St., Evanston, 224-999-7595) opened June 24 near the Central Street Metra stop, a long tee shot from Northwestern’s Ryan Field.
Beth is Beth Welch, a pastry vet of Everest, the Four Seasons Chicago, and Owen & Engine. And little means little—two pastry cases, only 1,000 square feet. “Everything is baked in-house, fresh every morning,” says Kate Noble, the manager and also Welch’s sister. “Everything is sold out every day. Nothing is ever frozen.” Welch makes breads, baguettes, bars, brownies, and, among things that don’t start with B, two types of scones, four of croissants, and six each of macarons and cupcakes. On a recent day, the three cookies were chocolate chunk with Maldon sea salt, oatmeal–coconut–chocolate chip, and peanut butter cup.
Noble says she and Welch, fourth-generation Evanstonians, run the shop as a tribute to their grandmother Jackie, whose china, mixing bowls, sculptures, and original copies of The Joy of Cooking and Mastering the Art of French Cooking adorn the shop. Jackie taught Beth how to bake. In our experience reporting on food, grandmothers seem to have a huge influence on bakeries, just with 30 or 40 years’ gestation.