The neon heart in the window of Lucy Lou’s pink bake shop tells it all. Baking is Susan Scully’s first love.
The former echocardiographer once performed ultrasounds on the hearts of patients, but now she warms the hearts of customers in the retro-style sweetshop she opened on New Jersey Avenue this spring.
Scully said she decided to pursue her degree in culinary arts when her youngest daughter began attending school full time. Scully went back to school as well, enrolling in Atlantic Cape Community College’s Culinary Arts Program. She received Gold Medal Culinary Arts Degree from the Academy last spring, she said, but cooking has always been her passion.
“I’ve been baking since I was 19,” Scully said. “It’s something that always came very natural to me.”
And to see her in a chef’s jacket amid the apple green display cases and tools of the trade, it’s easy to see that’s true.
The newly-renovated storefront is decorated with Fifties memorabilia and vintage baking tools and supplies. Black and white photos of Lucy and Ethel from the classic I Love Lucy television show adorn the walls. And behind the counter is a wall of vintage photos of Scully’s family, including her Grandmother Louise and her great-grandmother Lucy for whom the shop is named.
“My grandmother was an excellent baker,” Scully said. And she coached Scully through culinary school by critiquing her pies and sharing advice on how to improve a recipe.
Scully received a gold medal at graduation for the apple pie she perfected under her grandmother’s tutelage, but Grandmom Louise passed away eight weeks before the ceremony, Scully said.
“I wanted her to see the gold medal…to honor her,” Scully said, but since her grandmother couldn’t be there, she named the shop after her instead.
Scully is passing down recipes and a love of baking to a new generation, as well. Her daughters, Morgan, 12, and Mackenzie, 9, are important contributors to her new venture. When the shop opened earlier this month, a small section of the one baking case was dedicated to a custom cupcake display. From that case, customers pick from of a selection of cupcakes and then chose which frosting and topping will tickle their taste buds.
The build-your-own cupcake display began with a choice of chocolate or vanilla, but it has taken on a life of its own and grown to include varieties like chocolate marshmallow and coconut. There are nearly 20 flavor available now, Scully said and the display occupies a full seven foot case.
“It keeps growing,” Scully said, mainly because of the creative influences of her daughters. Morgan “more or less runs the front of the store,” Scully said, and considers the cupcake exhibit to be “her baby.”
“I let her do it,” Scully said. “She knows more than me what people would like.”
The proof of that is the way the cupcake bar has caught on.
“It’s very, very popular,” she said, drawing families from offshore who come in search of sweets.
One local mom who tried out the cupcake bar with her t-ball team said it was a great alterative to a trip to the ice cream parlor.
“It’s something different,” she said.
And for those who crave more sophisticated sweets, Scully is eager to please. She makes and ever-changing selection of pies that includes a traditional ricotta pie, a key lime pie and a variety of fruit pies, including her award winning apple. Mini-pies are also available for those who can’t decide.
“Someone can come in and say, ‘I want cherry. I want apple. Oh just give me one of everything,’” Scully said. Customers can also phone-in orders to make sure the pie they want is available.
For the month of June, the shop will be open from Thursday through Monday, and Scully expects that after that, they will be open seven days a week throughout the summer. It’s been a lot of hard work for Scully and her husband Paul and their daughters, but it’s worth it, she said.
“I’m having a ball,” she said.