Cookies, croissants, cake pops and pies – oh, my! NutMeg Spice Bakery and Cafe in downtown Sturgeon Bay is a haven for homemade bakery goodies that rely on old-fashioned recipes and from-scratch preparation. The enterprise is the creation of owner and baker Megan Jutrzonka, who has come to call Sturgeon Bay home since the business opened in March.
Even as a girl, Jutrzonka knew the career path she wanted to pursue. She discovered her passion for baking at the age of 10, and upon graduating from high school, she enrolled in a Chicago culinary school, with the goal of one day owning and operating her own baking business. From there, she put her culinary skills to work by gaining bakery experience while she attended business school at Milwaukee’s Alverno College.
Armed with culinary expertise and business know-how, it was time to pursue her dream, so the search for the ideal location commenced.
“I come from a small town, so I was looking for a location that would both bring in revenue, but also have a local community connection,” Jutrzonka said. “It’s the best of both worlds [in Sturgeon Bay] because you have new customers during the summer, and then in the winter, you have the comfort of seeing the same familiar faces of those who live and work here year round.”
Surprisingly, Jutrzonka had only recently come to know Sturgeon Bay after visiting a friend in the summer of 2017 and falling in love with the community – especially a building available for rent on Madison Avenue.
“I wanted someplace that people could just walk into, rather than a place you had to drive to,” she said.
The bakery’s name was a nickname that Jutrzonka’s uncle gave to her because he liked to tease her for being a fan of a certain pop-music girl group. When brainstorming a name, NutMeg Spice seemed fitting – and it stuck.
As planned, everything is baked from scratch using ingredients that Jutrzonka sources herself.
“If a customer comes in and wants to know what’s in our flourless brownies, I can tell them exactly what went into them because it’s only a handful of recognizable ingredients,” she said. “As a bakery, it is more expensive to bake from scratch, but it makes for a higher-quality product.”
With everything made fresh, there’s no need for any preservatives, and it gives Jutrzonka the flexibility to customize products to accommodate customers’ food allergies, dietary restrictions and personal preferences and create exactly what they want. This past weekend, she was working on an order of 18 lemon bars and a vegan wedding cake. Custom orders for cakes, cookie trays, breakfast spreads and more are available – with options for local delivery – when placed at least 72 hours in advance.
The bakery case is filled daily with a wide range of goodies: bread pudding, cake pops, cookies, pies, bars, brownies, muffins and scones. Plus, Jutrzonka aims to have one hard-to-find, old-fashioned item on offer.
This past week it was the blitz torte: a layered cake consisting of meringue, custard and cake. It’s a German recipe that Jutrzonka learned to make at her grandpa’s request. He used to have one each year for his birthday until the dessert became hard to find on bakery menus.
“I had to learn how to make it for my grandpa because we couldn’t order it anywhere. Luckily, my grandma used to make it, so I had some reference,” Jutrzonka said.
The cafe also offers a daily soup and sandwich selections, also made from scratch. Produce and fruit are sourced locally – another way that Jutrzonka ensures that her goods are fresh and of high quality.
“I was actually surprised,” she said. “Coming from Milwaukee, where farm-to-table has been around for years, the concept was still new in Sturgeon Bay.” Local farmers supply the bakery’s cherries, zucchini, potatoes, tomatoes, carrots, pumpkins and apples.
NutMeg Spice has grown a loyal following for several items on the menu, including the coffee from Ruby Roasters, based in Nelsonville, Wisconsin; and the daily croissants, which are made in plain, chocolate, almond and savory varieties. The best-selling desserts? The key lime pies are very popular and frequently sell out.
Going into her second year of operation, Jutrzonka hopes to continue growing her custom-order business and create desserts for local restaurants. Currently she’s in charge of the dessert menu at Fireside in Egg Harbor.
Now that fall has arrived, new menu items include pumpkin bars and seasonal pies using pumpkin and apple. The decadent caramel-apple bars are a year-round item, but they’re more popular now that apple season has arrived. The selection of hot coffee and tea have also become coveted beverages in tandem with cooling temperatures.
Visit Megan Jutrzonka and her staff at NutMeg Spice Bakery and Cafe, 43 S. Madison Ave. in Sturgeon Bay. It’s currently open daily except Monday, 6 am – 6 pm. Check nutmegspicedoorcounty.com for updates and to place custom orders.