What a difference a week makes in the butter tart business.
Last week, Don’s Bakery, of Barrie and Bala was mentioned in an article about the butter tart in the New York Times and this week, sales are up “noticeably” according to co-owner Bryan Foster.
More customers have come through the doors at the new store located at 31 King Street in Barrie and the Times piece has put the bakery in the international spotlight of the curious and those craving a sweet treat.
"We can tell the number of searches and inquiries on the website are also up since the article first appeared on-line, last Friday. It has been a whirlwind with media interviews," Foster said.
“We’ve gotten calls from across the U.S. asking about our product so now we’re looking at how to ship to the United States. Before this article I would have told you that was way down the road but I never say never."
Foster and his wife, Jana, purchased Don’s Bakery in 2010 and still use the original recipe that Don Lloyd used since 1947.
Don’s Bakery in Barrie opened in September of 2017 with a small storefront and a warehouse capacity.
Everything is made from scratch.
Foster himself grew up on both his own grandmother’s and Don’s butter tarts.
"It’s a fairly simple yet delicious dessert that never fails to lead to discussions and even debates when it comes to raisins or no raisins. It’s the ultimate comfort food," he said.
The New York Times article suggested the butter tart had originated in Barrie. According to the Canadian Encyclopedia, the first published butter tart recipe was in 1900 in the Women’s Auxiliary of the Royal Victoria Hospital Cookbook.
Foster says being a baker and not a historian, he can’t be sure of that fact, but it is definitely Canadian.
While the annual Ontario’s Best Butter Tart Festival in Midland has become famous for its more unusual butter tart ingredients like maple, bacon and even a deep fried version, Don’s Bakery makes basically plain, raisin, pecan and cranberry as an homage to Bala which is home of the Cranberry Festival.
“We want to uphold the tradition and the Don’s Bakery brand that people expect while also branching out to the GTA and perhaps American markets,” Foster said.
“You can’t do business the same way they did in 1947 but we try to keep it traditional."
And not only do people love eating butter tarts, they apparently also love talking about them.
The Times article inspired more than 200 comments on its website about the humble butter tart ranging from people sharing fond tart memories to sparking even more debate about whether the tart is actually a pecan pie in disguise.