Allison Cebulla of Hatched says has dreamed of owning her own bakery since she was six years old. Nonetheless, she says that – even if she could go back and tell her childhood self that the dream would eventually come to fruition – she probably wouldn’t have believed it.
But that dream is coming closer and closer to reality for the local baker, who has operated Hatched alongside her husband Craig Cebulla since 2018. In fact, after five years of hard work baking up some of the city’s best pies, hand pies and baked goods to sell for pick-up and at local farmers markets, the Cebullas are the closest they have ever been to having a bakery to call their own.
“Even when I say it out loud it doesn’t seem real,” says Cebulla, who shared that Hatched will be moving into a brick and mortar home at 11500 W. North Ave. in Wauwatosa.
The building, which has housed numerous businesses over the years including an Open Pantry and, most recently Tosa Wine & Spirits, will be undergoing a complete renovation over the next six to eight months to transform it into a bakery and cafe. Despite the work ahead, Cebulla says she has high hopes that they will be able to open in some capacity before pie season (read: Thanksgiving) officially arrives.
A dream, a bakery, a homecoming
From the beginning, the Cebullas have always dreamed big, looking forward to the day when the opportunity to open a brick and mortar came into view.
The bakery will be one of those dreams come to fruition; but it will also mark a homecoming of sorts for the Cebullas, both of whom spent a portion of their childhoods on the west side of Wauwatosa. Allison grew up just four blocks away, while Craig’s family lived just down the road near 74th and Bluemound.
“When some people start businesses, they look for their buildings first,” Cebulla says. “Instead, we’ve taken five years to build our brand, hone in on recipes and find a building where we could service the community in the best possible way… one that was good for both the area and our family.
“We’ve always hoped to be able to open our bakery in Wauwatosa,” she adds, “Simply because it really feels so much like home for both of us. Ultimately, this is just the perfect spot for us.”
The new bakery will allow the couple to move their business from its current 800 square foot commercial kitchen space to a 3200 square foot location, which Cebulla says will be built out to include not only a bakery, kitchen and retail space, but also a dining area that is likely to seat between 20 and 30 guests.
The cafe and bakery, she says, will likely be open from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., offering a variety of baked goods, including cinnamon rolls, brownies, pies and pie fries they've rolled out over the years. But she says they also hope to expand the menu to include breakfast offerings, sandwiches and a menu of after school snacks to accommodate children who attend any one of the multiple schools in the immediate area.
When it comes to the look and feel of the space, she says that the one element she knows will be a part of the space is an open kitchen.
“The dream has always been to have an open kitchen,” she says. “We want people to be able to see us baking. We want the kids to be able to see what that looks like, and we want our customers to truly be a part of the process. It’s how I've always operated, and how my son, Bowie, has grown up – always curious about what’s going on in the kitchens at the bakeries and restaurants where we take him.”
Beyond that, she says, they’re working to build a look and feel that’s welcoming and comfortable, much like someone’s home. That might include displaying the vintage bakeware, cookware and equipment she’s collected over the years or creating a wall covered in hand-written family recipes, either from her family or from customers.
“We’re currently in the process of getting a feel for what our brand looks like when it’s inside a permanent space,” she says. “I don’t want something kitschy, but I know I’d really like it to be like the house where everyone hangs out… the place where mom bakes batches of cookies and the kids really love to be.”
Ultimately, she says, it boils down to building a place that reflects their values as a family owned and operated business.
“We’ll stay true to those family elements,” she says, noting that the business itself was named largely in homage to her maternal grandmother, who always said she felt like a “freshly hatched owl” after getting her hair done at the salon. It was a phrase that was passed through the generations.
"Growing up, whenever there was anything new or fresh, my mother always said it was ‘freshly hatched,’" Allison noted in her inaugural OnMilwaukee interview about Hatched. "And that concept always stuck in my head. It’s clean, it’s simple. It represents something that’s new. It’s the possibility of possibility."
Unsurprisingly, it’s the belief in possibility that has brought the Cebullas this far. And, despite the time it has taken for the couple to build capital and develop a following in the community to support their business, Cebulla says she wouldn’t have it any other way.
“We’re not moving into someone else’s space and try to figure out how we fit into that space,” she adds. “We’re literally starting from scratch. So we can really design this to be what we want, and need, it to be. We also have plenty of space to grow the business, as time moves forward, whether it’s adding a bread program or something else.”
Join the Hatched team
Hatched is currently hiring for numerous positions including members of their bakery production team and a beverage manager for the forthcoming cafe. Serious inquiries can be forwarded on to Allison or Craig by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
Lori is an avid cook whose accrual of condiments and spices is rivaled only by her cookbook collection. Her passion for the culinary industry was birthed while balancing A&W root beer mugs as a teenage carhop, fed by insatiable curiosity and fueled by the people whose stories entwine with each and every dish. She’s had the privilege of chronicling these tales via numerous media, including OnMilwaukee and in her book “Milwaukee Food.” Her work has garnered journalism awards from entities including the Milwaukee Press Club.
When she’s not eating, photographing food, writing or recording the FoodCrush podcast, you’ll find Lori seeking out adventures with her husband Paul, traveling, cooking, reading, learning, snuggling with her cats and looking for ways to make a difference.