Sweet dream comes true

Shop in downtown Elburn will offer pastries and more
by Lynn Meredith
ELBURN—Danish, brioche, fruit tarts, fancy cakes. Get your sweet tooth ready for a treat. Made From Scratch will open Dec. 1 in downtown Elburn, at 2 S. Main St.

The pastry shop is the dream child of the shop’s owner and long-time pastry chef, Valerie McGrath. She envisions a place where you can stop by to sample a fine pastry or order a specialty cake, choose from a selection of savories such as homemade soups, salads, quiches, vegetable tarts and empanadas, or sip an expresso or cappuccino while taking in the colorful decor.

“I want it to be a stopping off and meeting place,” McGrath said. “It will be a nice place for people to come and meet because you don’t always want to drive.”

McGrath is a graduate of the Cordon Bleu in Chicago and has worked as a pastry chef at several of the large hotels in the western suburbs. She previously owned Bar Italia in Geneva and worked at Montparnesse in Naperville, Ill.

Owning a pastry shop has been her dream. She spent a year and a half searching for the right location. After purchasing the building on Main Street, McGrath decided that the space lent itself to more than strictly pastries. She went about making that dream come alive by searching out local, sustainable food.

“You can’t ask for a better area for local food with all the farmers. I work with the Green Market in Geneva. They keep enlisting local farmers and producers,” McGrath said.

The 900-square-foot space (formerly the site of American Dream Mortgage) is just right for 15 tables and a sizable kitchen. Designing an ideal kitchen was also part of McGrath’s dream.

“Everything pulls out, so it can be cleaned behind, even the sinks,” she said. “I’ve worked in so many restaurants over the years, I know how to avoid the pitfalls. I can take a hose to the entire kitchen.”

The shop’s atmosphere includes a MacKenzie-Childs decor and Wi-Fi. The business will be open every day except Monday. McGrath plans to open at 7 a.m. for the train and work crowd and close at 6 p.m.

“The customer base changes during the day. I’ll build a lunch crowd, and when the days get longer, I may extend into the evening. I’ll see how it goes,” McGrath said.

McGrath’s dream includes revitalizing downtown and attracting more and varied businesses to open.

“I see this as a stepping stone to a new downtown. I hope people will come to Ream’s and decide they need pastries,” She said. “I think Elburn is going to blossom, and I hope I’m the catalyst.”

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