MERRICKVILLE - Kim Sheppard and her mom Diane dreamed of opening a bakery together. Today, the Sugar Belle Bake Shoppe is a special, gorgeous-smelling confectionery Kim has created to make her late mother proud.
"We were both very strong, independent women so we wanted to be our own bosses," Kim says of their close relationship and shared love of being in the kitchen. A sitting area in Sugar Belle is dedicated to Diane, who passed away after a courageous battle with cancer in 2014. Many will remember her from her work at Brewed Awakenings in Merrickville.
"I think she'd be pretty proud of Sugar Belle," Kim says of the eatery specializing in pastries and cakes, sausage rolls and savoury quiches. Everything at Sugar Belle, from the popular cinnamon buns to date squares made from her grandmother's recipe, is homemade. Sweet treats are paired with Chef Anthony Kellar's quiche, chili and soups. Coming this fall are specialty grilled cheese sandwiches. Kim and Anthony like to add new items to the menu but they are also strict about quality control with their tried and true best sellers.
"What we do, we do well," says Kim. An Ottawa Citizen Daytrip review agrees, calling Sugar Belle's menu "modest but accomplished" while a TripAdvisor reviewer calls it "Cream Puff Heaven." These descriptions make Kim smile. Special occasion and wedding cakes are part of the growing business and Kim is known for her buttercream icing.
Another focus is to use quality, Eastern Ontario and locally sourced goods. Her "Freakin' Good" Equator coffee from nearby Almonte is a top seller. Iced coffee has been a big hit and Merrickville's own "Tea by G" is the premium tea served.
"It's very much a family business with an atmosphere where people can relax," says Kim, who has help from her daughter, Liana. Customer Jeannie Bujold agrees, saying it's "homey, comfortable, unique and cheery." Depending on the season, you can sit and relax over a butter tart inside or outside.
TripAdvisor and Yelp have given it four and five star reviews. Sugar Belle is open Tuesday to Sunday 9:30 a.m. to 5ish (Kim's description) and closed Mondays. Learn more about Sugar Belle on their Facebook page. You can email them or call 613-220-5973.