Jessica Bechtel and Jana Douglass are out to change minds about vegan eating, one baked good at a time. The duo started Happy Chicks Bakery out of Bechtel’s home five years ago, focusing on baking birthday and wedding cakes and on making the best vegan baked goods they could.
“We didn’t just want to be making things that were okay by vegan standards,” Bechtel says. “We aim to make food everyone will enjoy.”
Business was booming, so the friends decided it was time to open a physical location. They set up shop in Northside three years ago, then expanded their menu to include savory and vegan breakfast and lunch items.
A customer favorite, no matter the time of day, is the breakfast sandwich. Spinach frittata, Daiya cheese, and microgreens are stuffed between two halves of a housemade “buttermilk” biscuit.
If something on the menu isn’t made in-house, it’s sourced from another local business; everything from fruits and vegetables to graham crackers and chips comes from about 10 local partners. Fab Ferments’ krauts and hot sauce top off The Greens sandwich, and a variety of baked goodies are made with beer from nearby Urban Artifact, just to name a few.
Cakes, cupcakes, and pastries are still Happy Chicks’ bread and butter, so to speak, and on any given day, 12 to 14 different types of cupcakes fill the display case. Flavors rotate seasonally, and unexpected flavor combinations — like grapefruit and poppy-seed — are right in Bechtel and Douglass’ sweet spot.
Happy Chicks Bakery
4035 Hamilton Ave., Northside
Tue–Fri 9am–6pm; Sat 9am–4pm
Caitlin has been freelancing for Soapbox Media, an online Cincinnati magazine, since she moved to the city in 2012. Her green thumb isn’t all that green, so her husband is in charge of the potted garden on their deck. But she loves all things food—especially chocolate, wine, and chips and salsa.