Owner of downtown Baldwin City bakery, cafe plans to open burger restaurant next door
photo by: Elvyn Jones
Citing her desire to give her community something different, Baldwin City cafe and bakery owner Lori Gardner is expanding her business to include a new restaurant that will serve hamburgers, hot dogs and other classic fare.
Gardner opened Homestead Kitchen and Bakery at 719 Eighth St. in 2018. Homestead offers a breakfast and lunch menu, fresh baked goods and ice cream Monday through Saturday in downtown Baldwin City.
Now, Gardner is in the process of renovating the storefront immediately to the north of Homestead to house her new restaurant, which will be called The Eighth Street Burger Shop. She said she isn’t deterred by the economic downturn associated with the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The community has been very supportive,” she said. “We’d been looking to expand for some time when this opportunity opened up next door. We’re excited to offer the community something different.”
Expansion opportunities are scarce in downtown Baldwin City, where all but two storefronts are currently occupied or undergoing renovations for new tenants. Gardner’s business is expanding into a space that was formerly occupied by the Joy Garden restaurant. That restaurant has been closed since its owners left in January on a trip to China, leaving a note on the door saying they would return in a month. Gardner said she knows little of their current status, other than that they are well, back in the United States and will not be returning to their Baldwin City business.
At The Eighth Street Burger Shop, Gardner plans to offer much different fare than what she serves at Homestead. She said the new restaurant’s menu will include burgers made from fresh meat ground on site; vegetable burgers; specialty hot dogs; and ice cream treats such as malts and shakes.
Although a large arched passageway connects Homestead and The Eighth Street Burger Shop, the two establishments will have different kitchens, Gardner said. That’s in part because the burger restaurant will have a large grill, she said.
With the new restaurant’s opening, there will also be changes to the Late Nite cafe, an eatery with later hours that current and former Baker University students were operating out of the Homestead Kitchen and Bakery storefront after that restaurant had closed for the day. The Late Nite business will move over to the burger restaurant to take advantage of the grill, Gardner said.
Renovations will be underway over the next several weeks, and the goal is to complete the work and open the new restaurant by Nov. 1, Gardner said.