Brittany’s Butters is on a roll.
Don Reilly’s speciality butter company began in 2019, but within the past year, it gained a partner, expanded into a corporation and, most recently, found a storefront.
Brittany’s Butters and Gourmet Bakery is set to open in late November at 544 Lincoln Ave. in Winnetka — the former home of Bake HomeMade Pizza Company.
“We were targeting all of the suburbs around Winnetka and we drove through Winnetka and saw that business district and fell in love with it immediately,” Reilly said. “It was a vibe that just hit us in the car.”
Of course, it wasn’t that easy.
Reilly developed Brittany’s Butters — named after his daughter who helps with the business — in the wake of his career as a restaurant chef. He describes the finishing butters more as sauces used for prepared dishes than for cooking, and he began in 2019 by showing them off to friends through cooking demonstrations.
Word spread, and as the in-home demos grew, so did sales. But then, the pandemic hit, and people avoided inside gatherings, especially with strangers.
Reilly pivoted to a ghost kitchen and added bakery products to complement the butters but said he “couldn’t get in front of enough people” to build momentum.
Then, at the end of 2021, he met Kristen Hackathorn, a baker from northeast Ohio, on the social media app TikTok, where Hackathorn came across one of Reilly’s inspirational videos.
As the two got to know each other, they cooked up a collaboration: Brittany’s Butters plus Kristen’s baked goods could be a sweet combination.
“We created a spiritual bond and the business became a part of it,” Reilly said. “Meeting on TikTok was just the door opening.”
The couple first tried their concept in Ohio but, looking for a more populated region, brought it back to Chicagoland in March and found the Winnetka storefront shortly thereafter.
The space will feature a front-and-center counter for Reilly to continue cooking demonstrations with the butters, which range from sweet (three-berry and citrus) to savory (honey-roasted garlic and pesto) at $9 for a dozen 6-ounce “buttons.”
A production kitchen and retail bakery will also be included and highlighted by scones, biscuits and Kristen’s pies, such as her speciality, orchard apple. Also in the mix will be more unique items, like biscone (biscuit-scone) pudding, pie bites and sweet breads (actually sweet, such as glazed orange and buttermilk cinnamon).
They believe their products are filling a void in the community and do not want to serve identical goods as other shops, like Hometown Coffee and Juice across Lincoln Avenue.
“There is a lot of uniqueness to our business,” Reilly said. “We are hellbent on not being one of five … of any of that traditional stuff that you can get at Mariano’s or other bakeries. We are going to be a niche bakery.”
The gourmet bakery will also serve a custom coffee blend and bread knots — both products branded as “87,” a nod to Reilly’s and Hackathorn’s birthdays, both of which add up (month number plus date plus year) to 1987.
“We believe in magic of numerology and we’ve adopted the 87 mantra,” Reilly said. “We have yet to meet a couple that has that same magic with their birthdays. It’s very unique.”
The Record is a nonprofit, nonpartisan community newsroom that relies on reader support to fuel its independent local journalism.
Subscribe to The Record to fund responsible news coverage for your community.
Already a subscriber? You can make a tax-deductible donation at any time.