After five years, Mor Bakery is in search of a new home. In fact, the business currently operating at 2018 S. 1st St. will relocate before the end of 2023.
“We initially adopted our made-to-order, pickup-only format to help us – and you – get through the pandemic,” owner Traci Morgan-Hoernke wrote to customers in a recent newsletter. “Today, we continue to keep this format in place intentionally, as it has proven to be an important strategy that helps us navigate those ongoing inventory and staffing issues that seem to have no end in sight. The most important new development is this: We’re still around, and we intend to keep making delicious dishes that delight our customers for a long time to come – but we’ll soon be doing so in a new setting.”
While the new location has not yet been secured, Morgan-Hoernke says she is in search of a 2,000 square foot space that would allow her to continue to operate efficiently using a hybrid model that embraces both walk-ins and pre-orders.
Moving was not in the plans
When Mor Bakery & Cafe opened on the north end of the Lincoln Warehouse in Bay View, Morgan-Hoernke’s goal was to provide delicious, high quality baked goods for a largely underserved population of individuals in need of safe, affordable gluten-free items.
She chose to do that safely, building out a dedicated gluten-free kitchen, and as affordably as possible considering the high cost of wheat-free flours and high quality ingredients guaranteed to be free of contamination.
It wasn’t easy. Mor was a project 10 years in the making. Her first attempt to open the bakery was foiled by the economic downturn that hit in 2008-2009. Her second attempt took place in 2016, resulting in a failed lease and the loss of significant funds. So, when she opened her business in Bay View in 2018, it was a major accomplishment. She says she counted on the fact that her third time would be the charm.
But, like many other small businesses, she says she's barely survived the pandemic (and beyond) working with a limited staff, inconsistent product availability and increased costs.
“I started MOR not just because I struggled to feed my son the safe, healthy foods he needed,” Morgan-Hoernke notes. “I realized there was a dire need in our community to serve people who simply can’t get what they need from mainstream outlets: Safe whole-grain, gluten-free items, made freshly in a dedicated environment from real, recognizable ingredients. People with significant health issues and dietary restrictions like Celiac Disease, and the people who serve as their caregivers – everyone deserves to be welcomed at the table, with or without restrictions. That’s why MOR is here.”
Morgan-Hoernke is clear that moving so soon was not in her original plan. But she hopes that current customers will stand behind her, continue to make preorders and support the business through its next transition.
If you’d like to support Mor, you can sign up for their newsletter to access products available for pre-ordering in addition to deadlines and pick-up dates. You can also access weekly pre-ordering information on Mor’s Facebook page.
With the exception of Oct. 7, MOR Bakery will also continue to sell products at the South Shore Farmers Market, 2900 S. Shore Dr. on Saturdays from 8 a.m. to noon through Oct. 28.
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.