Tara and Billy Koenig met while working as managers at Balthazar in 2006. Two years later, they moved to Charlottesville, VA, where they opened a bakery and candy shop in 2011. Now they’re back in NYC and living in South Williamsburg, where they plan to open a second location of sweethaus this September.
There’s been just one hitch with its intended home, at 364 Bedford Avenue: early January, their final walk-through was postponed when their prospective landlord, Menachem Stark, went missing and was eventually found dead. The couple decided to stick with the property. They haven’t yet been able to sign a lease, but hope to open in September.
Like its sister store, sweethaus will sell a lot of cupcakes, although Tara said, “I don’t really want to be known as a cupcake shop.”
“One of the reasons why we opened our shop in Charlottesville and sort of originally anticipated that we would probably stay there is that I felt like New York is pretty saturated with cupcake shops, and I felt that way when I left six years ago,” Tara laughed.
To stand out, sweethaus will offer baking classes, espresso drinks, beer and wine, and an array of nostalgic candy (the Charlottesville shop sells atomic fireballs, licorice mixes, plus gummi things ranging from penguins to soldiers to chicken feet),
The upcycled decor will be similar to that of the original sweethaus, where the cupcake case was constructed from old windows and the counter once belonged to an automotive shop. Here, as there, the kitchen will be framed by countertops, barstools, and a giant glass window to give customers a birds-eye view of the baking in progress.
Which can be entertaining: past custom orders have included everything from a 3D shark cake to cakepops in the shape of Mr. Potato Head.
One of their most popular items is the Everything Cupcake, made from chocolate cake with caramel, marshmallow, Oreos, pretzels, and peanut butter cups. “We were trying to come up with the ultimate stoner cupcake,” Tara explained.