Salted Caramel Peach Pie. Tomato & Basil Quiche. Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies. These savory and sweet baked goods, plus a cup of coffee, will soon be within walking distance for Avalon Park residents on Chicago’s South Side, where entrepreneur and pastry chef Maya-Camille Broussard recently broke ground on her new, expanded Justice of the Pies bakery. The $1.7 million facility will feature a 4,000 sq. ft. bakery. The space will create a new local amenity and allow the 2022 James Beard Award finalist and Netflix-famous Broussard to expand partnerships with local retailers and grow her online retail business.
“Moving Justice of the Pies to the South Side has always been the ultimate goal. I yearned to be in the neighborhoods that served as the backdrop for my childhood. I truly feel at home in Avalon Park and I’m beyond thrilled to be planting my bakery’s roots here,” said Broussard.
Broussard’s vision was supported by public, private and philanthropic investments, including funding from We Rise Together: For an Equitable & Just Recovery, The Chicago Community Trust, City of Chicago’s Neighborhood Opportunity Fund, Builders Initiative, and WinTrust.
Broussard, a South Side native who appears on the Netflix baking competition series Bake Squad, said that while the path to her new facility wasn’t linear, she’s certain she’s arrived at the right place. For the past seven years she has produced her pastries at Kitchen Chicago and The Hatchery on Chicago’s Near West Side. When she began looking for a larger space to meet growing demand, she thought she found the perfect spot in the South Shore neighborhood. However, within days of touring the space and making a bid, she dreamt she lost her teeth—and two days later, she lost that bid.
Fate intervened. Broussard learned that her mother’s childhood dentist in Avalon Park—where she taught at an elementary school as an arts teacher—had recently retired. His office at the corner of 86th and Blackstone was vacant. “That’s what the teeth in my dream must have been about!” quipped Broussard.
We Rise Together provided a $400,000 grant to support the build-out of the new bakery for Avalon Park and Broussard’s business growth. A coalition of philanthropic and corporate funders and communities, We Rise Together is accelerating equity in metropolitan Chicago’s economic recovery so that everyone who lives here can reach their full potential. The grant aligns with We Rise Together’s three goals, to spur development in disinvested neighborhoods, increase quality, resilient employment, and strengthen businesses of color.
Since September 2021, We Rise Together has awarded more than $18.6 million in grants, including $14.1 million to 17 real estate developments in 13 Chicago neighborhoods and Cook County.
“The communities we serve are excited to see changes in their neighborhoods and to have new amenities and services within reach,” said We Rise Together Director Gloria Castillo. “Grantmaking at this scale is critically important to bend recovery toward equity—and it’s possible because We Rise Together is pooling funding from corporate and philanthropic donors.”
We Rise Together is hopeful that investments like this will spark additional investment in communities. In Avalon Park, for example, two new restaurants are slated to open nearby in 2022.