BRADENTON — The conversation makes your mouth water.
Matt Schole was on the office phone with a groom’s mother, finalizing details for a special dessert table she wanted next to the wedding cake he and brother Dom would be making.
“Italian rainbow cookies. OK. Cannolis. Got it. You want cream puffs and chocolate-covered strawberries, too,” said Schole, 25, working a calculator as he went down the list. “I think I’ve got everything here. We’ll make a nice display. I appreciate that. You have a good day.”
Nearby Dom Schole, 27, nodded his head.
“It’s the wedding season,” he said, smiling.
Their bakery, Matt & Dom’s, has been open only a week, but the brothers are busy. From wedding cakes to cannolis. No surprise to folks who know the Scholes.
“Who’s to say guys can’t make cake?” said Caryn Hodge, marketing director for the Ed Chiles restaurant group.
These guys can.
“It wasn’t something specifically in our business plan,” Matt Schole said. “We just liked doing cakes and we didn’t know of too many guys in the cake business.”
They did it in a roundabout way.
Fittingly, they began flipping burgers while in at Manatee High School at the Shake Pit, next door to their new bakery.
“They always talked about having their own pastry place, so dreams do come true,” said Pit boss Debbie Crowe. “Having them across the street is cool stuff.”
After culinary school at Manatee Technical Institute and a stint with Sarasota’s Ritz-Carlton, Matt Schole and his brother, who’d pursued drafting and design at Manatee Community College, opened a pastry cafe on Anna Maria Island in 2007.
“We did lunch and brunch on weekends, coffees, smoothies, pastries, desserts and a little catering, but we were getting known more for cakes,” Matt Schole said. “It was just another part of our business and it just kept building and building. To do a cake on Saturday and put out brunch was getting a little complicated.”
“So we decided to scale down and concentrate on what we enjoyed doing,” Dom Schole said.
A smart move, said Jack Elka, a longtime commercial photographer and the spearhead behind the annual Anna Maria Island Wedding Festival.
“The pastry cafe concept was confusing to clientele,” he said. “I always thought of them as the guys who do wedding cakes. That’s their strength. So I think this is a great idea. By moving into Bradenton, they can touch a bigger, broader base.”
The Scholes will do four wedding cakes in a day, maximum, and they average 12 wedding cakes weekly. The most they’ve charged for a cake is $800.
“We’re not ridiculous,” Matt Schole said.
Cakes fit their laid-back, personal style.
“The one-on-one is nice, instead of the hectic pace of a restaurant, where you’re turning tables and don’t know who you’re cooking for,” Dom Schole said. “Here you can sit down with the couple, get to know them.”
“We’ve had up to seven to eight people in a room trying to coordinate on the cake and it gets a little crazy,” Matt Schole said. “We try to focus on the bride and groom. It’s their day. It starts with them.”
Vin Mannix, local columnist, can be reached at 745-7055, or write him at Bradenton Herald, P.O. Box 921, Bradenton, FL. 34206 or e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include a phone number for verification.