Bhagy's Bakehouse is Toronto's newest source for square cookies and cakes, and it's hidden down a tiny little hallway plastered with stickers.
Fortunately for owner Andre Bhagwant, his reputation precedes him enough to be a little secretive: he's been a contestant on Masterchef Canada twice.
After being on the show, he wanted to pursue a career in the food industry and started out his baking business with a lineup of just four cookies, delivering across Toronto himself.
Once he realized people were loving his products, he decided to open up a hub where people could visit for pick up and officially launched Bhagy's Bakehouse in November 2022.
Bhagwant credits the kickstart of his career in part to a local dentist, who hired him to make baked goods for the one-year anniversary of his clinic.
He also gives credit to fellow Masterchef contestant and Toronto business owner Christopher Siu of DaanGo for pushing him towards sweet treats and starting up a business of his own.
As for why Bhagwant has made his products square, his answer is pretty simple: "Every single cookie that you see in a cafe or other shop is round in shape, so when you see a square cookie, you'll know it's from Bhagy's."
When it comes to the actual flavours beyond the presentation, Bhagwant has pulled on nostalgia for inspiration with classic options like chocolate chip, double chocolate chip and confetti.
Cookies are $5 across the board. Other flavours he's making that are just slightly outside the conventional cookie jar include coconut and malt.
Bhagwant makes everything daily by hand in small batches and tries to create a variation of texture and taste sensations in his products.
"One thing that the [television] competitions have taught me is how to handle pressure. Another thing that I've learned is flavour is king, and I try to apply that to each baked good on the Bhagy's menu," says Bhagwant.
"I liked the concept of a takeout window because it reminds me of going to drive-thru windows at my favourite fast food restaurants growing up. Aside from that, the increasing price of rent in Toronto led me to start small. This location made sense because I really wanted to be in Scarborough, the place where I grew up."
He even tapped into a sense of nostalgia and childhood for his packaging, working with Markham-based LeKAC to create a kids'-meal-type box to go with his playful theme.
Bhagwant has since branched out from cookies, although his $55 seven-inch cakes in ube, confetti, and sell-out red velvet and chocolate flavours are still square.
He also now makes "crispy bars" (think, Rice Krispies squares) that also sell out, in flavours that include confetti and "Cinnabar."
You can also pick up combos of cakes and cookies that range in price from around $15 to $81.
Bhagwant's goal for the future is to eventually one day open a full Bhagy's Bakehouse dessert shop where people can come in and stay to enjoy his treats.