The decisions are tough at Sweet Tooth Café & Bakery, especially the ones about cupcakes.
Even the most devoted Chocolate Raspberry lover faces a crossroads when the flavors range from Apple Cider to Banana Split to Hot Fudge Sundae to Elvis (banana chocolate topped with peanut butter cream icing and fudge drizzle).
“We’ve got between 50 and 60 flavors,” says owner Crystal Burton, who started with just three, vanilla, chocolate and strawberry.
Heck, you might as well get a dozen!
What started with Burton baking cupcakes in her kitchen has ballooned into one of Gloucester Village’s most yummy stops, complete with specialty drinks (how does a S’mores Latte sound?). Burton says most folks still aren’t aware that the menu extends well beyond desserts.
Signature sandwiches include Crystal’s Cuban, the Mac-Daddy (mac-n-cheese, brisket and a grilled pretzel bun) and the Gourmet BLT (with a fried egg along with the regular fixings). She likes them all but favors the chicken panini.
In another lifetime, the Christopher Newport University graduate was a probation officer but a longtime gift for baking called her in another direction. Cupcakes have always been her thing. She started taking orders from friends and friends of theirs before taking the plunge of opening her own place.
“I started baking at home and it just grew from there,” she says. “It grew and I grew with it.”
By 2015, she was outgrowing the little cupcake shop she had started in the corner of Gloucester’s Morgan building. She entered the Launch Gloucester entrepreneur competition and won the first-place $50,000 in start-up capital and prizes. Sweet Tooth Café and Bakery opened on Sept. 25, 2015.
“It was a surprise to win, but it was a lot of hard work,” Burton says.
Burton embraces a farm-to-table approach, buying local ingredients whenever possible. She’s persnickety about ingredients. Fresh vegetables and fruits come from Ware Market across the street from the cafe. Eggs are farm fresh. She orders most of what goes into the baked goods, including Madagascar Vanilla, organic vanilla beans, European Butter and artisan chocolate.
“We have a really good mix of things on the menu,” Burton says. “It’s a really peaceful environment, too. People come in and we’re low key. I’ve got really good employees. We have a great clientele. We try to provide the very best.”
Burton, originally from Middlesex, has very little down time as she and husband Jason are parents to six children ranging in age from 3-20. She tries to make time for an occasional trip to Nags Head and volunteering with Cornerstone Fellowship Church in Mathews County.
Burton credits the staff for keeping operations smooth during the pandemic. Sweet Tooth earned the Retail Alliance ROTY 2020 award given to the Retailer of the Year by the Hampton Roads association of professional retailers.
Being part of Gloucester Village — that’s pretty sweet, too, Burton says.
“I just love it. I love that everybody stays so connected. We’re all like a little family.”
Sweet Tooth Café, located at 6655 Main St., is open weekdays 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays and closed Sundays. Call 804-824-9898 for information.