“I probably drove up the price of Easy-Bake Ovens on eBay,” laughs Kristy Dirk.
Like so many of us, Dirk's introduction to the kitchen was an Easy-Bake she got when she was just eight years old. It was freeing: “You could do it by yourself," she says. "You didn’t have to wait, and you couldn’t do too much damage with a light bulb.” Ultimately, it was life-changing, sparking a love of pastries that led her to want to one day open a bakery of her own.
Decades later, the pastry chef has finally gotten a chance to make good on that Easy-Bake inspiration; she'll open the doors to Lucky Oven Bakery in Armatage later this month. She still has that first oven -- along with 51 more she's collected over the years -- and the spoils of her internet bidding will make up an art wall at Lucky Oven that's an homage to the toys that first lit her passion.
Dirk's resume includes Salty Tart and Red Wagon Pizza, which is just across the street from her corner space on Penn Avenue. (When the location opened up, it was Red Wagon's Peter Campbell who said, “Hey, you should open your bakery in that space right there on the corner.”) She's also added chef de cuisine Adam Beale, most recently of Patisserie 46 and Upton 43, to the team.
Lucky Oven will be a full-service bakery, with fresh breads, cakes, breakfast pastries, and more coming out of its scratch kitchen. But it's also a full-service restaurant, serving breakfast and lunch from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. every day. On that menu, you'll find biscuits and gravy, hashes, sandwiches, and snacks. “It's just stuff I love to eat,” Dirk says, laughing.
Dirk is no stranger to this community. In addition to her work at Red Wagon, the chef lives in Lynnhurst, right next to her Armatage bakery. And Beale, too, lives in the neighborhood. “It’s just a really great neighborhood that loves to support local restaurants,” she says. "People have been stopping by to say hi and say they’re excited."
“I'm so glad," she adds. "I want this to be a place people can come and feel at home.”
Lucky Oven Bakery
5401 Penn Ave. S., Minneapolis