A former Broadway performer is opening his first brick-and-mortar bakery in Wilmont at the end of August.
Broadway Baker will serve its cookies, macaroons and Oprah-approved brownies at 1209 Wilshire Blvd. Founder Jim Osorno said his small-batch recipes are passed down from his parents and grandmother and use fresh, local ingredients.
Osorno has been running Broadway Baker as an online shop for the past five years. While singing and dancing on Broadway, he used to bake cookies, bread and cake for opening night celebrations and dreamed of baking full-time.
“The name Broadway Baker came to me because it’s the colliding of my two favorite worlds: baking and Broadway,” he said.
Osorno said the bakery’s top-selling sweet is grandma’s mix-up bars, which is based on a recipe Osorno’s Grandma O used to make. They’re made with bittersweet chocolate chunks, coconut and crushed pecans drizzled with sweet cream atop a homemade graham cracker crust.
Close behind is lemon raspberry shortbread, Osorno said. The bakery uses his grandmother’s shortbread recipe, infuses it with lemon zest and adds a dollop of organic raspberry preserves on top. Broadway Baker’s salted caramel brownies, which were featured in O Magazine in 2017, are also popular.
After starting his business, Osorno relocated from New York City to Santa Monica, where he lives with his partner, Tom. He’s excited to serve the local community with a physical storefront, he said.
“It’s always been the dream to have our own little place where we bake everything right there,” Osorno said. “It will be a completely open baking environment so everyone can see what’s happening, with smells wafting through the air. That was always the dream, to bake on the spot in front of people.”
Broadway Baker’s goods also serve three charities that have personal importance to Osorno: CaringKind, an Alzheimer’s charity, the ASPCA and the AIDS charity Broadway Cares. A portion of every purchase is donated to the charities, he said.
“When I was thinking up the idea of Broadway Baker, something I wanted to do right off the bat was to give back,” he said.
The bakery’s fans have been eager to see the business expand. Three months ago, Osorno launched a GoFundMe campaign to cover the cost of kitchen equipment and interior renovations. Those who donated to the campaign get 15-25% discounts on baked goods for life. So far, Osorno has raised $8,288 from 68 people toward a $10,000 goal.
“The support has been completely overwhelming,” he said.