With three types of cheesecake, a few coffee drinks and a sign on the door that read, “We’re new at this, please be patient,” 7ate9 Bakery first opened its doors during Somerville Open Studios weekend in May. “We got the okay from the health department, and two days later we were open,” recalls owner Sarah Chester with a laugh. “We thought, ‘We have to get our doors open,’ … We wanted to introduce ourselves to the neighborhood.”
Chester founded 7ate9, known for its sinfully delicious mini cheesecakes, back in 2010. For years, she worked out of a shared kitchen space in Winchester and schlepped the desserts to area farmers markets on weekends, where they were a huge hit with shoppers. But she always knew that she wanted to open a brick-and-mortar location, and as demand for her pint-sized pastries grew she began a serious search for a storefront. It was almost a year before she landed the storefront on Spring Hill at 199C Highland Ave.
Just two months have passed since their Open Studios debut, but the 7ate9 that’s dishing out treats and coffee these days is almost unrecognizable from the one that welcomed the community in during that first weekend. They’ve expanded their cheesecake options, developed a line of refreshing summery beverages and have new breakfast items—including mini quiches and breakfast breads—in the works. To celebrate, the bakery is having an even grander grand opening this Saturday, July 11, from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m.
“We’ve made all of the mistakes we’ll ever make, we got it all out of the way,” jokes Chester. “Now that we’ll never make a mistake again, we’re opening.”
Actually, a willingness to make mistakes is part of 7ate9’s charm, and it’s been a significant factor in developing some of the shop’s newer and more inventive offerings over the past two months. Chester encourages her staff, baristas and bakers alike, to experiment in the kitchen, allowing them to create unique, flavorful drinks like a zesty ginger limeade and a treats and toppings that include a brand new chocolate ganache. The staff is currently in pursuit of the perfect chocolate chip cookie, or rather cookies—they’ve perfected their soft version, but since everyone likes their cookies a little bit different, they’re also hard at work making the perfect crispy, chewy and crunchy options.
In addition to their passion for creating the best food possible, the 7ate9 staff shares a commitment to sourcing their ingredients from top-notch local vendors. The coffee comes from Dean’s Beans in Orange, MA; the teas, salts and herbs hail from Soluna Garden Farm in Winchester and the chocolate—every ounce of it—comes from Taza. That includes the morsels for their chocolate chip cookies, which the staff hacks off by hand (so dedicated are they to buying local) because Taza doesn’t sell chocolate chips.
In turn, the bakery’s Spring Hill community has embraced them with open arms. Chester says that nearly all of the business owners within a several block radius have dropped by to welcome her to the neighborhood, and many of her regulars work and live on Highland Avenue.
“It’s nice to feel like part of a community,” she says. “It’s fantastic.”
7ate9 Grand Opening Ceremony
Saturday, 7/11 from 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
7ate9 Bakery, 199C Highland Ave.