Irwin's Neighborhood Bakery and Cafe opened its doors in 2000, occupying the same space that's been a family-owned business serving the Wallingford neighborhood since 1923. Originally Irwin's Grocery and Market, the Irwin's legacy continued with the great-granddaughter of the original Irwin, Pastry Chef Shannon Mattila, who opened Irwin's as a Bakery and Cafe in 2000 and is the creative force behind the pastry recipes still used today at Irwin's.
Baker/Entrepreneur Linda Fecher bought Irwin's in 2006. Irwin's had become Linda's family's local coffee shop, and here Linda became friends with Shannon, eventually becoming involved with the running of the business. When Linda learned that Shannon was considering selling the Bakery/Cafe, she jumped at the chance. "My heart started fluttering" Linda described her feelings on purchasing Irwin's, "I'd been a home baker for over 20 years and loved it and was already the bookkeeper for the business. I just knew it was a perfect fit as baking and providing hospitality had always been what I loved doing best." When Linda took the reigns at Irwin's, she found great recipes and happy customers so no need to recreate the wheel.
As a mom of 3 children, Linda knew she wanted to keep this a family oriented business. She hired her daughter Rachel when she was only 15 years old. Rachel continued to work at Irwins through high school and then threw college at UW. After college, Rachel wanted to step up in her capacity at Irwin's and is now the store manager. Rachel has brought a great talent with baking and mastering new recipes, often coming up with new ideas on her own. (perhaps she learned a thing or two from her mom) ! Linda still does the everyday books and whatnot but has been able to step back from the daily running of the business thanks to Rachel's great talents.
Consistency of high quality is the most important thing to Linda and her staff at Irwin's, and last time I was there I overheard a customer asking the girl behind the pastry counter, "Who makes this stuff for you?" Linda and her devoted crew of bakers do, fresh, every single morning.