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Baked Goods

Bakerbots

Posted by Robyn Urback / Posted on July 22, 2011

BakerbotsBakerbots is just eight weeks old and only open on weekends and evenings, but it has already earned a reputation for some of the best ice cream sandwiches around.

I head to Bakerbots on a day of unprecedented heat, practically clawing at the locked glass door waiting for the clock to strike six. Relief. The door is opened, and I head inside, thinking only of ice cream--and if I'm lucky--air conditioning.

BakerbotsInside I find owner Rosanne Pezzelli whisking away with a metal bowl, barely lifting her head from the sweet concoction she's preparing behind the counter. Rosanne looks swamped, she tells me she's swamped, and the look in her eyes tells me she's not joking. "I just have to keep going at it," she says.

Bakerbots"It" is Bakerbots' assortment of cupcakes, cookies, cakes and macarons, mostly sold on weekends but with the odd little batch available during the week. The shop is open just between 6 p.m. and 10 p.m. from Tuesday to Thursday, primarily to sell ice cream treats.

BakerbotsRosanne's career didn't begin with baking. She started as an illustrator and painter working out of New York before deciding to travel to Europe where her love of sweets and pastries took full form. She later enrolled in the Baking and Pastry arts program at George Brown College, which led her to start her own catering company, which later motivated her to open this storefront retail shop.

BakerbotsI ask Roseanne (who is now piping onto a cookie sheet) if she has plans to open the store during the day throughout the week. "I'm not sure how I could do it," she says. "We'd have to expand. Because right now, during the day I'm using this space for my catering and wholesale."

BakerbotsAnd the problem clearly is that there's not a lot of space. There's just one table for seating and a little counter cash, and a few people hustling back and forth in the bakery area. But Bakerbots' reputation is quite large despite its size, with the buzz most centred around the red velvet cupcakes and macarons in Mojito, Saffron, Earl Grey, and other flavours.

BakerbotsBut I've come for an ice cream sandwich--the other famed Bakerbots offering--and Roseanne's husband, Chris, fills me in on the method. "Roseanne makes the cookies. We have Ginger, Captain Peanut, Everything..." he says listing off the cookie names. "So you pick your cookie, and then choose your ice cream." The ice cream comes from Ed's Real Scoop, and while the varieties are often changing, they can include flavours such as Burnt Marshmallow, dairy-free Raspberry, Guinness Stout, French Mint, Mercury Espresso, Maple Bacon, and others.

BakerbotsBakerbots' chalkboard menu has suggestions for ice cream/cookie combinations, so I take its advice and opt for an Everything cookie with Burnt Marshmallow ice cream. The cookie looks pretty big, so I opt for a half sandwich ($3.50) instead of a whole ($5.50). And when I see it, I'm glad I did.

The cookie--split in two--sandwiches a good few inches of ice cream in the middle. Ed's ice cream, as always, is fantastic, and the cookie has a great sturdiness to it, keeping everything inside. It has that home-baked taste and is chewy in a bit of a stick-to-your-teeth type way. And it's flat--not fluffy or crumbly--which makes it perfect for an ice cream sandwich. I bet it would taste even better in the mid-afternoon. And yes, that was a hint.

BakerbotsBakerbots is open Tuesday-Thursday: 6-10pm, Friday: 4-11pm, Saturday 11am-11pm, Sunday 11am-8pm

Photos by Jesse Milns

Discussion

46 Comments

Phil / July 22, 2011 at 09:46 am
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So all this talk of ice cream sandwiches and no picture?
JF / July 22, 2011 at 09:54 am
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Seriously. I kept scrolling.
cathy / July 22, 2011 at 10:06 am
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Actually, it's kind of refreshing to have a bakery open past 6. I lived in Leslieville for a couple of years and everything either shut down just before I got home from work or had no stock left if they were still open.
Zaira / July 22, 2011 at 10:16 am
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To make up for the lack of photos of the ice cream sandwich, here is mine from a few weeks ago:
http://twitpic.com/5it632

That is the half sandwhich, it was still enormous. I could barely finish it. Coco cookie with creme caramel ice cream, if I remember correctly.
Steph / July 22, 2011 at 11:00 am
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Whoa holy smokes that IS huge! Thanks for sharing the photo Zaira - now I know for sure to get the half.
Miss Piggy replying to a comment from Zaira / July 22, 2011 at 12:08 pm
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Zaira..I did scoff at the half o' sandwich option 'til I saw your pic..thanks...glad to see they open at 4p today!
chris / July 22, 2011 at 12:15 pm
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@zaira

:O
Aldrin / July 22, 2011 at 03:51 pm
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Great write-up. I really love this place and I mean I REALLY LOVE this place :)
cindy / July 23, 2011 at 05:32 pm
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Very good macarons. Im eating them for dinner right now. Heaven.
Rachel / July 25, 2011 at 02:26 pm
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This place is by far the best and shames the popular cupcake shopped {which is hard for me to say, because I love cupcakes too}

I frequent more than I should really.

Here are photos from one of {many} trips to Baker Bots love-as-a-verb.blogspot.com
Erin / October 16, 2011 at 05:22 pm
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The website URI is wrong up there. It should be http://bakerbotsbaking.com/
brad / December 15, 2011 at 01:56 pm
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This place is LEGIT.
Brandon / January 10, 2012 at 02:46 pm
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I found a huge hair in one of the cookies I was eating while I was sitting down. Huge bummer.
Mary / January 10, 2012 at 07:55 pm
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I was there once and the owner was extremely rude to me. I'm never going back (and I walk by that place everyday).
mavr / January 13, 2012 at 05:11 am
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I Agree with Mary above, went in, owner was so rude that I stopped mid order and said never mind and left. customer service is DEFINITELY not their strong point. Sad too cause the cupcakes looked phenomenal, but there's a million other cupcake shoppes.
Sadie / January 19, 2012 at 10:17 pm
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i saw on the door that they're opening up again tomorrow - SO EXCITED! they have amazing pie and bread pudding too, along with their ice cream sandwiches and cake. so glad they opened right when i moved into the neighbourhood. and the owners are really nice! A+
Ro / January 19, 2012 at 10:26 pm
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Mary and Mavr, thank you for the feedback.

I am sorry about the experience you had with us and would like to apologize for not making you feel more welcome. I too appreciate good customer service, believe me, and there is no excuse for rudeness.

Our space is tiny which means our baking station is right up with the retail counter and that makes it difficult for anyone to distinguish between the baker, who usually need to focus on delicate or time sensitive stuff, (often me) and the service people who help our guests (sometimes me too). I LOVE interacting with the neighbourhood which often feels like one big family, and it's sometimes a bit of a challenge for me to juggle both production in the kitchen and the front counter if the service person is with busy with another guest. If I fell down on that, I apologize. It was certainly not the result of an overriding philosophy or anything and must have been some bad juggling on my part.

I'd love to make it up to you, please give us another try sometime.
Rosanne



LisaPN / January 19, 2012 at 10:26 pm
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I have been going to baker bots since I found the l shop in July. Roseanne is one of the hardest working people that I have ever met, and she is lovely and quiet and very down to earth. not once has she been rude, rather very kind and thoughtful. and she makes some of the yummiest treats in the city. just because you run a bakery doesn't mean you need to be an extrovert, it means you need to bake which she does. just my two cents..
s / February 25, 2012 at 02:47 pm
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I went to this place because it came highly recommended; I don't have any doubts about the proprietor's talent in the pastry arts; but, she is cold and unfriendly- this amounts to bad customer service. It seems this is a pattern with her, as others on this forum have complained about it, too. And this time, we were the only two people in the bakery. Believe me, I totally understand that we all have bad days, but a hello or welcome never hurt anyone. My friend and I smiled several times at the proprietor and I was very enthusiastic about the goods she was selling, asked her questions, etc., but she kept a poker-straight face. My friend and I felt she didn't really want us there. We felt unwelcome. I bought a few things and left. Sadly, I wont be going back again.
s replying to a comment from LisaPN / February 25, 2012 at 02:50 pm
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You are right, she has not been rude- but, if she is in the storefront, rather than in the back, baking, she has to be an extrovert, which means being polite and friendly- this is part of the business of selling. You could be selling the most delicious goods in the world, but if your customer service is not up to mark, no one want to patronise your shop. That's the reality of the situation in the hospitality sector. That's why it's called the 'hospitality sector'.
Sadie replying to a comment from s / March 1, 2012 at 09:29 pm
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agreed - people in hospitality should not be rude, but i have interacted with the proprietor on many occasions and she's never been rude, she's always friendly and genuine. she may not be overly bubbly and overtly enthusiastic, but i think that's just her personality. and i have been to places where people are so excessively bubbly that it feels really insincere, and that makes me way more uncomfortable.
AL / March 5, 2012 at 09:29 am
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there is no 'back'(room) for baking. its right up front.

its a shame when people mistake quiet, shy and not All Up In Your Face Salesperson for rude, cold or unfriendly.

Ro is one of the kindest, sweetest most thoughtful people ive met via being a customer in the 10 years ive lived in this neighbourhood.


ill take bakerbots over any bullshit pseudo chain shop any day!
AL / March 5, 2012 at 09:30 am
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oops, that should say "its a shame when people mistake quiet, shy and not All Up In Your Face Salesperson type people for rude, cold or unfriendly"
Priyanka / March 6, 2012 at 09:14 am
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Bakerbots is truly a gem! I have been there a few times and each time has been spectacular. On my last visit we took some out of town friends, and it was fairly late in the evening - which resulted in most of the delicious treats to be sold out. Rosanne said she had some banana pudding left over, and generously gave me a heaping spoon to try... let me tell you it was incredible and I proceeded to polish off the bowl! They also have a wide variety of teas, and she is great and giving suggestions. All in all, I wish more places were like bakerbots. Rosanne is friendly, and really she is an artist!
s / March 7, 2012 at 02:14 pm
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Not saying hello is impolite, and is indeed the characteristic of a cold person. Not smiling when someone compliments your pastries is implolite. Not smiling when someone compliments your bakery is imploite. Being shy is one thing, being standoffish is another.

I think people who are defending the behaviour of the proprietor of Bakerbots need to read our messages again carefully, in particular mine, in which I describe, line-by-line, why we felt the way that we did. Where she says above in her comment, "I LOVE interacting with the neighbourhood which often feels like one big family"- well, perhaps she should learn to say hello and smile at her "family". She didn't love anything about us because there WAS no interaction from her side. No one expects her to be chatty- but just civil and a bit interactive (when she is not superbusy, of course).
s / March 7, 2012 at 02:15 pm
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*impolite
J / April 10, 2012 at 05:42 pm
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I happened upon this shop by chance; I was so pumped that there was a cupcake shop so close to home.

I have to agree with other poster's here but the owner/baker was the most JOYLESS person I had ever met. So deadpan, so sombre, so sour...I thought, "gosh, for someone who is doing something they love for a living you've got some chip on your shoulder!" I (reluctantly) bought a cupcake and swore I'll never go back again.

But damn it, if that wasn't the best cupcake I ever had in my life! So now I don't know what to do. Choose to take her cantankerous attitude personally and not go back or just watch for when she's not behind the counter so I don't have to deal with her again. This is the dilemma that I'm faced with.

Sidenote - I know the difference between shy and rude and she is definitely not shy.
Jonathan / April 17, 2012 at 04:34 pm
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Geez, really? Roseanne is one of the sweetest people I've met. And cakes as good as hers are very rare.
Connie / April 27, 2012 at 04:47 pm
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Bad cupcakes here lacked flavor and the icing was so greasy and sweet.
Jessica / April 27, 2012 at 09:44 pm
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A bakery sells products: BAKED GOODS. It is unreasonable to expect a shop proprietor to be anything but his or herself. If Roseanne is not a gregarious, upbeat, and adept at making her customers feel special and loved like some prodigy child, I care not. All I care about is if she can bake well.

I do not go to bakeries to feel loved or special. I go to bakeries to eat delicious baked goods. It's tiresome to constantly see people complaining because other people are different in how they interact socially. She is a human being. If you are so sensitive and insecure that you need to feel warm and bubbly and overly welcomed when you go somewhere then go to a place where affected and disingenuous people work. I do not trust anyone who is always overly upbeat and optimistic. Anyone who works in customer service would know that is impossible to be without duplicity.

Grow. Up.
ch / May 1, 2012 at 07:11 pm
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I live across the street. Went in on opening day. Got the cold self-righteous artiste attitude and walked out empty handed. Just called this afternoon to ask a question. Not much has changed. Avoid this place.
Lea / May 7, 2012 at 09:58 am
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Bakerbots is a lovely place, no idea what you are talking about 'ch'.....I live up the street and every time I've been in the people have been so friendly! Btw the ice-cream sandwiches are to die for!!!
Natasha / June 8, 2012 at 05:49 pm
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Although their hours aren't the most convenient, their baked goods are incredible! I'm a big fan of their earl grey and pistachio macarons.
Vanessa / June 18, 2012 at 04:30 pm
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I love this place! I've never had bad service. The owners have always been sweet to me. I live in the neighborhood and they always stop to say hi when I walk by. I think a lot of people confuse a more introverted attitude with rudeness... Anyways. Back to food. The ice cream sandwiches are crazy good and the banana pudding is magical.
Liza / June 23, 2012 at 12:14 pm
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I agree that a) the baked goods and ice cream sandwiches are crazy delicious, and b) Rosanne comes off as rude and often irritated with customers. I've been in probably 10 times and always have the uncomfortable feeling that she personally dislikes me, even though I'm unfailingly polite and friendly. I've tried to make conversation (live in the neighbourhood, love the bakery, etc.) and have been met on several occasions with the poker-face treatment. Oy. Glad to know it's not just me! OK, so Rosanne is not naturally extroverted and not super-bubbly/phony/into fake personality customer interaction. Fine. But perhaps she should take all this feedback seriously. It can't be good for business if half your clientele thinks you hate them!
Rena / July 4, 2012 at 03:33 pm
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I'm not sure who it's been serving me, but every time I go in I have a perfectly pleasant experience with the staff. I went in just to look a couple times and they were very nice. Then my roommate took me and demanded I try all the cookies- mm-mm! And yeah, it's nice having an evening bakery for a change. A good idea. Can't wait to try the ice cream...
D / August 13, 2012 at 08:41 am
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Ice cream sandwich was out of this world (everything cookie + toffee ice cream). I will be back for sure.
Rory / August 14, 2012 at 04:24 pm
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Haha. The commenters on this thread about 'politeness' should come to Paris... the bakers there are rarely expected to be judged on their personalities (or on anything but their goods, really)... which is a good thing considering how stuck up some of them can be! But at the end of the day, food is food, n'est-ce pas? ;)
samantha / November 29, 2012 at 11:54 am
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It amazes me how people will say whatever they feel like saying about a person, when they hide behind a computer screen. If you felt she was rude, why not tell her right there and then, don't come running back to your little computer and spew your unnecessary and unhelpful comments about someone you hardly know .
Kay / April 20, 2013 at 11:46 pm
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Love, love, love Bakerbots!
Red replying to a comment from samantha / June 18, 2013 at 11:32 am
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If most of your clientele is complaining about your poor service, it's not the clientele that needs to check their behavior.
Concord ave. / July 19, 2013 at 03:04 pm
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All of their stuff is beyond amazing, and that's all that matters to me. If you want a fake-ass smile, dip across the street to douche gelato.
Vijaya / August 11, 2013 at 07:16 pm
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I have been here at least 15 times within the last year, and I can say that each and every experience has been an amazing one. I don't know Rosanne personally, but I found her to be pleasant, as any shop owner would be in this type of business. Her staff have also been incredibly helpful anytime I've visited in the past.

I do think posting hateful comments about a person to a forum like BlogTO is in extremely poor taste. Moderators should take note, these verbal attacks are hurtful and should not belong here.


Tabi Irani / August 22, 2013 at 01:42 pm
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Maybe the problem isn't with Rosanne and perhaps the people claiming she is rude or cold are just one those customers that don't focus on your order before you get to your turn and then hold up the almost always huge line by humming and hawing about what to get and asking about every item on the menu. Sorry, but the customer isn't always right, often the customer is an asshole... Sure, maybe you expect some personal attention when you are purchasing something, but when you are purchasing something from a person hand making it with a gaggle of people behind you and not being efficient about your time or the time of the person serving you, what do you expect. Running your own business is certainly living the dream, but that doesn't make it easy or any less tiring. Also, Rosanne could be a beast (which she is NOT) but there is nothing that could keep me from the best ice cream/cupcakes/and pastries in the city, your loss and my gain (keeping those lines a bit shorter)
CL Mota / August 28, 2013 at 05:22 pm
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In need of some refreshment after a long day at work, I decided to try out bakerbots' famed ice cream sandwiches. It was my first time in the bakery and I have to say that I was greeted extremely warmly, was promptly served and made to feel very welcome in the space. The ice cream sandwich in itself was devine (I had the peanut butter cookie with the vanilla bean ice cream)! I will definitely be making bakerbots one of my go-to spots and can't wait to try more of what seemed to be a wonderful selection of baked goods!
Maria / January 7, 2014 at 01:28 pm
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Ive been here a few times ( its located outside of Ossington Station - opposite side by Delaware / Concord avenue)I tried their Red Velvet Cupcake ( terrible) on different occassions. I would have tried more treats but the lady who owns the shop is a complete snob, very rude and doesn't look happy baking and selling her goods. That completly turned me off. I refuse to spend my money places where the CUSTOMER SERVICE SUCKS! and I will NEVER EVER refer anybody to this place. There are better quality treats else place with better customer service where the owner will actually SMILE and CONVERSATE without acting like someone shoved a spactula up their ass without no lube.

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