Meet this Houston woman who is opening a new bakery on Saturday in the middle of the cornavirus outbreak
HOUSTON – On Monday, after months of preparation and costly construction, Houston baker Rebecca Masson -- known locally as The Sugar Fairy -- was less than a week away from reopening her bakery Fluff Bake Bar at its new Heights-area location. Then, Harris County and the City of Houston announced a sweeping closure of area bars, clubs and restaurant dining rooms in an effort to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.
Masson expected relocating her bakery from Midtown, where the shop opened in 2015, to The Heights would require a lot of work. What she didn’t anticipate were the challenges of reopening her establishment in the midst of a pandemic.
Now, Masson is rushing to develop a carryout and curbside takeout system before her bakery opens Saturday, all while worrying about the future of her business.
“When I first heard the news, my heart sank,” Masson said. “I’m not a big company or corporation. It’s me and my mom and my stepdad. That’s whose money is in this. I don’t have investors. I have loans.”
But, Masson said she’s not one to throw in the towel when faced with a challenge.
“I texted a couple people and asked them ‘Am I crazy?’,” Masson said. “And they said ‘no’ and I told myself, you know what, I’ve never been one to give up."
Masson said she’s just going to do the best she can.
“I built this business with $200, a mixer and some sheet pans,” Masson said. “I got a little more equipment than that now. I don’t have $200,” Masson said, laughing. “But, if I have to start all over again, I will. I’m not going to walk away from something that I’ve invested nine years of my life in.”
Masson remains hopeful cookies and coffee will provide her customers and herself some comfort during a time of uncertainty.
“I can’t think of a better time for a cookie,” Masson said. “Yesterday, I baked my recipes in my kitchen and it felt good. It felt like I had a small sense of normalcy.”
Fluff’s new digs at 1701 West 15th Street are a thoughtful assemblage: artsy black and white photos of Masson’s cooking equipment, much of it once belonging to her grandmother, hang in one corner. Carefully selected, vintage-inspired cake wallpaper accents one wall of the shop. And, in the dining room sit some beautifully crafted wood tables courtesy of Masson’s friend.
It’s a playful, homey space, and, in keeping with current restrictions on restaurants, it’s closed to customers. For now, Masson and her staff will serve orders curbside. Patrons can call the bakery in advance at (713) 522-1900 or pull up in the parking lot for assistance.
“Two things I ask of people: Be patient with us because we have no idea what we’re doing when it comes to being a Sonic delivery person and tip my staff,” Masson said. “100 percent of those tips go to them. They need every dollar they can get right now.”
Fluff will open at its new location with a limited menu featuring customer favorites including the Couch Potato cookie (a cookie packed with potato chips, pretzels, cornflakes, marshmallows and chocolate chips), the Star Crossed Lover (a Rice Krispie treat topped with salted caramel and dipped in chocolate), the Unicorn Bait cookie (sugar cookie with birthday cake crumb and rolled in sparkly sugar), snickerdoodle and chocolate chip cookies, lemon tarts and brownies.
The bakery will also offer espresso-based beverages and cold brew coffee.
At the moment, Fluff is only accepting credit cards for payment.
Residents in the area, those repping a 77008 zip code, are eligible for doorstep delivery. The service is free for orders of $25 or over and at a cost of $10 for orders under $25. Most orders placed before noon will be deposited at a customer’s doorstep that afternoon.
And on opening day Saturday, in addition to Fluff’s cookies and coffee, Feges BBQ will run a pop-up shop onsite from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. with a limited bulk menu featuring whole brisket priced at $100, 3 pounds of chopped brisket or pulled pork priced at $40 each, and whole turkey breasts priced at $40. Barbecue sauce is available at no additional cost. Masson extended an open invitation to Ferges BBQ, who she hopes to host again in the coming weeks.
Don’t have a sweet tooth? Masson said you can also support her business or other local business with the purchase of merchandise or gift cards.
Fluff Bake Bar is located in the Houston Heights area at 1701 West 15th Street. Currently, operating hours are 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday. For more information, head to www.fluffbakebar.com.
Copyright 2020 by KPRC Click2Houston - All rights reserved.