BRIDGEPORT, Conn. — The fates seemed to be conspiring with Leisha Young a couple of years ago.
First, the former Talbot’s training store manager got laid off from her job. Then she noticed one of her favorite Bridgeport shops, Melt Market + Café, had closed its doors.
While others might see both as negative, Young saw an opportunity to live out a lifelong dream. And thus Leisha’s Bakeria was born.
“I’ve entertained at home since I was a little girl. So why not?” said Young, who took over the Lafayette Circle storefront where Melt had been.
A bright, airy space, located on the edge of burgeoning Bijou Square, Leisha’s Bakeria is a boutique eatery serving up breakfast, lunch, snacks and sweets to a hungry downtown crowd.
“The name comes from not having grills or fryers,” she said. “So…bakeria!”
The menu includes plenty to choose from — from French toast and spinach and egg wraps to fresh hummus with pita chips to the inventive cupcakes and stellar chocolate chip cookies Young, a self-taught cook, is known for.
Each Thursday, Young — sometimes aided by her daughter, Janaya — heads over to the Downtown Farmers Market to peddle her wares. At last week’s market opening, she sold out of the inventive watermelon/beet/onions/honey salad she had concocted for the day.
Originally from Bridgeport, the Orange resident said she’s happy to be back in the city and close to her daughter, who plays softball for the University of Bridgeport.
Janaya admits that having her mom’s eatery within walking distance from campus is a real plus. She often stops in for a bite to eat.
“We’ve come down a long road, working together,” Janaya said, giving her mother a playful hug.
Young is pleased to be part of the farmers market for her second year. She said she sees some of her regulars amid the tents and the market gives her a little more exposure.
“I get some of the community that doesn’t always get to my end of the neighborhood,” she said.
Though she’s never run a restaurant before, she attributes her success to something that’s critical for any business venture.
“It just comes from passion,” she said. “Two years in, I’m still moving forward.”
For more information on Leisha's Bakeria, visit the Facebook page .
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