SugarPlum Bakery opens doors |

SugarPlum Bakery opens doors

Kirk Caraway
Brad Horn/Nevada Appeal

The section of South Carson Street by the Carson Mall is this city’s version of fast food row, with multiple restaurants catering to the immediate desires of drive-through diners.

But a new eatery is moving in, hoping to find a niche between those who like their food fast and fresh baked.

SugarPlum Bakery opened its doors Saturday after two months of getting the former home of a fast food franchise ready for the public. They feature a variety of fresh baked goodies, from breads to European pastries to bagels with cream cheese. With a comfortable dining area and a drive-through window, they offer diners the choice of getting good food in a hurry, or relaxing with a casual breakfast or lunch.

“I think people need a healthy alternative in this area,” said owner Leana Garcia. “It’s so fast-foodie. And for the same price, we can offer a healthy alternative.”

The bakery was originally located in Genoa. Garcia bought it two years ago after her mother Margie Benitez had moved to the area and started working there. She eventually convinced her daughter to come and see it.

“I said, ‘Where’s Genoa?'” Garcia said. “The owner just happened to be selling it, and I Ioved it. Everything that they made was what we were used to. So we just put our hand in it and started going from there, no special training, no nothing.”

But trying to operate a steady business in a small place like Genoa proved to be a challenge.

“When you are dealing with food and perishables, it’s a lot of loss,” Garcia said.

So last year she and her family started looking for a place in Carson City to move the business.

“Pretty much all last summer I was trying to get her to do it,” said cousin Eric Rangel, who Garcia calls her “main baker dude.”

Besides Garcia’s mother and cousin, her sister Sarah Benitez can also be found helping in the kitchen, as can Jeanne Samsal, a family friend from church who has professional experience baking wedding cakes. Another family friend, Annette Williams, is also helping out.

“It’s pretty much a family thing,” Garcia said. “We come from a big family of bakers. It’s just kind of been in the blood.”

All of the baked goods are made on site, from the puff pastries and pot pies, to wedding cakes and quiche.

SugarPlum does a cafe-style breakfast, with items like French toast, waffles and eggs benedict. Their fresh bagels are served with your choice of three flavors of whipped cream cheese. And there’s also quiche and breakfast sandwiches to choose from.

“We want to offer a little bit of variety,” Garcia said. “I think there is too many coffee shop-type breakfast places.”

They also offer a full line of coffee and expresso drinks, with Reno-based Blind Dog Coffee supplying the beans.

For lunch there are sandwiches made with fresh bread, as well as wraps and salads. Garcia said they are keeping prices somewhat competitive with the fast food options in the area. For instance, a sandwich, pasta salad and fruit cost $6.50, and a large salad runs $5.95.

Saturday was a “soft opening” for the bakery according to Garcia, and she plans to have an official grand opening next weekend.

Across the street on the Stewart Street side of the Carson Mall, Paul Schaat’s Bakery is scheduled to open sometime later this summer, putting two new bakeries in the same neighborhood. But Garcia thinks there is room for both.

“I know that Schaat’s is more about bread, where we are more geared towards desserts,” Garcia said. “I think that will help, which will give each of us our own client base.”

She also said the drive through gives her an advantage.

“I know I try to go to places I don’t have to get out of my car because I have two kids, and every time I have to get out, they have to get out, too, and it’s a chore,” Garcia said. “I hope this will work in my favor.”

Despite the competition and the poor economy, Garcia is confident her baked goodies will find a following.

“I think if you put a good product out there and give good customer service, you can succeed at any time.”