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Nicolette “Nikki” Jillson has been a self-taught baker creating Insta-worthy confections from her home for the last six years. Now she’s taking her passion, creativity, and the skills she’s learned along the way to open her own brick-and-mortar bakery with the help of her uncle Gaten Matarazzo Jr. Joe’s Bake Shop is set to open in May in Tuckerton, NJ’s Seaport Plaza at 161 E. Main St. and will serve picture-perfect modern baked goods, along with classic Italian desserts and bakery items. The 1,200 sq. ft. bakery will be decorated in a clean and bright vintage style so that Jillson’s colorful confections stand front and center. Joe’s Bake Shop will also have some outdoor seating where you can enjoy your sweet treats over conversation with friends.
“I want it to be a place where you can stop and enjoy and don’t feel hurried to grab stuff and go. Come in, have a conversation, and look at all our desserts,” Jillson told What Now Philadelphia. “Talk to us about options, pick something you like, and give us input. I want to incorporate what they’re [the community] liking and what they’re expecting, while also staying true to myself and offering new flavors and varieties. I really want it to be community-oriented and a place where people can have a great experience.”
At Joe’s Bake Shop, you’ll find giant mouthwatering cookies that ooze Nutella or cream cheese filling, with irresistible rotating flavors, like the OG cookie, a cinnamon and brown sugar cookie, stuffed with cookie butter and biscoff cookie crumbs. You can also choose from gourmet cupcakes artfully topped with candied bacon or rosemary, custom decorated cakes, dessert bars of different flavors like snickerdoodle cheesecake, and other edible creations like macaroons or mini cookie sandwiches. If you’re looking for something simpler, like a homemade cinnamon roll or traditional, like Italian butter cookies, Joe’s Bake Shop will have you covered. Want something that brings together both old school AND new school desserts like a cannoli taco, a cannoli shell shaped like a taco shell filled with cannoli cream and topped with chocolate chips and crushed cannoli shell or other toppings? Well, you’re in luck because Joe’s Bake Shop will have everything you need to “Keep Life Sweet.”
“I like to take a lot of traditional items and mix them in new and inventive ways,” says Jillson.
Jillson, a mother of two, started out making cakes and other baked goods for her kids and family as a way to master new baking and decorating techniques. Jillson’s desserts became a hit on Monday nights when her big Italian family gets together to eat, drink, and enjoy each other’s company. Her cousin and Matarazzo’s son, Gaten Matarazzo III who plays Dustin on “Stranger Things,” was so impressed by Jillson’s delicious creations that he asked her why she didn’t open her own bakery.
“That’s when he [Matarazzo III] looked at me and was like, ‘Can we do this?’ And we all said ‘yes,’ and now here we are opening our bakery!” Matarazzo Jr. said. “We were just crazy about the desserts that she does, and the township hasn’t had a bakery for as long as I remember. We’ve had cookie or doughnuts shops, but never anything like this. People have always said that we should have a bakery and we were lucky enough to be able to do this and bring something a little different and awesome to town.”
Joe’s Bake Shop is named after Jillson’s brother, Joe Olivier, who passed on after a car accident in 2020 at the age of 19. She hopes to donate some of the proceeds from her bakery to help fund a scholarship in his name at Pinelands Regional High School, where she, her brother, uncle, and cousin attended.
“He always used to come in my house and eat everything in my kitchen. And it would be gone in minutes. So, I thought it would be fitting, and this was an opportunity to have his name on something,” Jillson said.
Joe’s Bake Shop’s website is still under construction, but you can get a sneak peek at joesbakeshop.com.
H/T: app.com, The SandPaper.net