Frost Me Sweet, a popular Richland bakery and eatery, is poised to expand by doubling the size of its restaurant seating and offering more dessert choices.
Owners Megan and Jason Savely recently bought the building next door to their restaurant that was once home to a law office as part of their expansion plans in The Parkway.
Work is scheduled to get underway this month, which will move the bakery and kitchen to the new building, reserving the existing space for restaurant seating only.
“The restaurant is really popular, which we had never anticipated,” said Megan Savely, who originally planned to open only a bakery. “During the busy times, it gets so chaotic in here. People come in for desserts, to-go orders and lunch.”
The expansion will increase the potential number of customers served at one time from about 32 to about 65.
The remodel also will allow the restaurant to add separate bathrooms with multiple stalls instead of the single-use restroom available currently.
The Savelys said they originally opened Frost Me Sweet out of necessity after Megan’s love of baking had taken over their home. She was making cakes as a side-job for friends and co-workers.
“I’d be making cakes all weekend,” she said. “We used to say our house is a ‘caketastrophe.’ (Jason) said, ‘You need to do this for a living, or cut down on work, but you can’t be baking all the time.’ And I said, ‘I think I want to do cakes.’ ”
Megan grew up with a strong interest in baking.
“When I got in trouble, my mom would ground me from the oven,” she said.
That interest led to a natural talent in cake decorating as soon as she tried it out.
“I’ve always been really artsy and into crafts. Painting and sculpting was huge for me. I never really married food and art until about 2006, and then I started playing around with fondant because I had seen people on TV and I thought, ‘That looks a lot like sculpting.’ So I did it and I was really good at it, and instantly I was like, ‘This is what I’m supposed to be doing,’ ” she said.
The couple opened the original Frost Me Sweet in July 2010 in a 200-square-foot spot on Thayer Drive, now home to a coffee stand.
Megan needed the location to start selling her creations because, at the time, Washington had not revised its “cottage food law,” which prevented people from selling “low-risk” foods, like baked goods, out of home kitchens.
Though Megan describes those first months as an entrepreneur as a “scary, scary time” where the couple were mostly living on Top Ramen, the business took off significantly within six months, following a couple of appearances at bridal shows.
“I was doing consults all the time and brides were throwing money at me, ‘Here, do my cake,’ and we only had one fridge, so if I wanted to do two wedding cakes in one weekend, I didn’t even have anywhere to put it,” she said.
Megan quickly realized she had outgrown both her at-home baking and the shop on Thayer when the couple began scouting a new spot, knowing the expansion was a risk they hoped would pay off.
“We invested everything we had made in the last year into this business and had our fingers crossed that it’s going to work,” she recalled.
The restaurant at 710 The Parkway opened in April 2011, in the space where Smoovies once operated.
The Savelys have a long history in the service industry and found the added square footage would allow them both to do what they loved, without being forced to make rent on just the bakery.
Megan focuses on the baking while Jason does the cooking, alongside loyal support staff they often refer to as “family.”
With its hallmark mint green exterior, the restaurant quickly became a popular destination in Richland, especially in the summer months when patio seating is in use.
“The success has been far more than we ever anticipated when we opened our business, so we’re grateful for that,” Megan said.
The couple went from tenants to owners when they bought the Frost Me Sweet building three years ago.
They knew the business was outgrowing its current space but didn’t want to move.
“We love everything that The Parkway is and what The Parkway is becoming, and all the new businesses that are coming down here,” Megan said. “I feel like I saw that before we opened.”
When the adjacent building became available, Megan took a closer look at just how many customers chose to eat elsewhere rather than wait for one of their limited number of tables.
“I spent a lot of time in the front during lunch to see, ‘Are we turning away that many people?’ And I found, ‘OK, yeah, we’re having to turn away a lot of people.’ And that hurts as a small business owner,” she said.
The crunch is even tighter during the leaner winter months when the restaurant can’t rely on its outdoor seating.
The Savelys recently made the decision to buy the adjacent building at 710 ½ The Parkway, which originally was home to a credit union. The large walk-in safe inside remains and will be repurposed for storage. Most recently, the building had been used as a law office, but still retains its original vintage character.
Megan said she’s inspired by its “funky ’60s vibe” and plans to rework the décor inside the original half of Frost Me Sweet as part of the overhaul.
Remodeling will take most of the spring, with the expectation of a summer finish of the new combined sites.
Work on the new building can mostly take place without interruption to the current restaurant. The couple anticipates an eventual one-week closure for demolition of the current kitchen and bakery storefront, which will both be replaced with dining room seating.
A doorway will be cut out of the brick wall that divides the two buildings, allowing access between the two sides.
“People ask us, ‘Why don’t you just open a second location in Kennewick or something instead of making this one bigger?’ But we love what we do. I love to bake and he loves to cook, and we love our employees and the family atmosphere here and we love being a small business,” Megan said.
The couple likes to stay close to the product and fears that wouldn’t happen with multiple locations.
“I would no longer be able to bake and he would no longer be able to cook. We would just be overseeing other people, and that’s not what we got in the business to do,” she said.
Frost Me Sweet employs 30 people, including many who have been there since day one.
Rather than raise prices to cover the additional overhead or increase to the minimum wage, the Savelys hope they can simply seat more customers by adding about six additional employees.
Once complete, Megan intends to have new offerings in her larger bakery, more on the scale of what’s found in a patisserie.
She recently attended an exclusive training with French pastry chef Cédric Grolet, who’s been voted by the industry as best pâtissier in the world.
“We have such a big following with our cupcake base but I just want to show people what else is out there, things you can’t currently find in the Tri-Cities,” she said. “Now we’ll be able to showcase amazing desserts even better.”
This will include a bakery display viewable from George Washington Way.
The Savelys look forward to building on their past accomplishments while staying in the spot that made them a success.
“I’d always wanted a bakery in The Parkway. I felt like this area is so cute and I felt like this was our spot,” she said.
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