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East End bakery to change name, expand offerings

By Rachel Molenda, Staff writer

East End bakery Frutcake plans to expand its offerings and change its name, said owner Keeley Steele.

Charleston’s Board of Zoning Appeals approved a conditional use permit Thursday that will allow the quirky neighborhood coffee shop to serve alcohol.

“We decided that Frutcake sort of pigeonholed us into the pastry industry, so we’re going to expand our offerings,” Steele said.

Soon to be known as Starlings Coffee and Provisions, the café will serve light deli fare like grilled cheese sandwiches and soups, along with desserts. The shop will also sell artisan cheeses, crackers and other grab-and-go items “to get people through their evening” after work, Steele said.

“People in the neighborhood will be able to stop on the way home and pick up some provisions to take home without having to go out of their way to a larger grocery store,” she said.

Frutcake regular Bobby Altmann said he goes to the shop every day for the espresso and the company of Felisha Chase, frontwoman of the operation.

“I’ve known Jon and Keeley [Steele] a long time, and they’re a great business partner with the community,” Altmann said of the Steeles’ East End businesses. “Anytime there is support of local music and artists, that’s a good thing.”

Steele, who also owns and operates East End restaurants Bluegrass Kitchen and Tricky Fish with her husband Jon, hopes the change will give residents a greater opportunity for outside dining, something Steele said the East End lacks, and a reason to socialize locally.

“We live in a neighborhood full of people and I think whatever anyone offers that enables people to stay in the neighborhood and spend money and not get in their car is a great thing,” Steele said.

Altmann added he would like to see empty buildings that surround Frutcake, located on Washington Street East, and other East End eateries get more use.

“It seems silly to have vacant spots there when businesses are thriving around them,” Altmann said.

Chase, who runs “the morning show” with baker Matt Crawford, said she looks forward to the expansion. Frutcake is already offering a light lunch, serving items such as quinoa salad, soups and pepperoni rolls (meat and vegetarian versions).

“I’m excited to hand it over to a second shift and see the building grow,” Chase said.

The shop’s hours will expand, most likely to 6 or 7 p.m., Monday through Wednesday, and until 10 or 11 p.m., Thursday through Saturday, Steele said.

Steele could not give an exact date as to when Frutcake will become Starlings, but she said she would start making orders as soon as the state Alcohol Beverage Control Administration approves the bakery’s application.

Reach Rachel Molenda at rachel.molenda@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5102.


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