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Match Baker, A Cupcake Bar With Flights Of Mini Cupcakes, To Open In Ampersand’s Old Spot

Lauren Sprowl used to bake cupcakes at night to relax. Now, she's turning her hobby into a business.

Lauren Sprowl, owner of Match Baker.
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RAVENSWOOD — Match Baker, a cupcake bar that will offer “mini cupcake flights” as well as wine and beer, is taking over the former site of Ampersand Wine Bar in Ravenswood. 

The new business owned by Lauren Sprowl is set to open next spring at 4845 N. Damen Ave.

Match Baker is a cupcake bakery. But if you want to sit and stay you can enjoy a mini cupcakes flight paired with wines or a beer,” she said.

Sprowl been baking cupcakes for years and considers it one of her passions and ways to relax.

“I worked in nonprofit management and human resources,” Sprowl said. “I found that when I would get stressed with my job I would go home and I would bake and stay up too late.”

For five years she lived in Oregon and learned about the area’s wineries, sometimes including a local vintage in a cupcake recipe. 

“My flagship cupcake uses a red wine syrup,” she said. “I cook down a red wine for a syrup that I use in both the cupcake and frosting.”

Before she thought about baking professionally, Sprowl would often host informal hangouts where she’d pair her cupcakes with wines for friends.

As her recipes became more intricate — she makes them from scratch with natural dyes and ingredients — she started looking at how to make her passion for baking and wine into business. 

“I eventually got to the point where wine and cupcakes were taking over my life,” Sprowl said. “My wife and I decided I just needed to quit my job because I wasn’t happy and I needed to pursue a career in this field.”

Two years ago, Sprowl started working at a bakery. From there, she learned how to scale up what she’d been making in her home kitchen. 

“While working as a baker, I also studied for and passed the first level Court of Master Sommeliers,” she said. “Once I did that I was also able to get a job at a winery.”

Once she felt she had enough of an education in the wine and food industry, she began to look at properties where she could open Match Baker. 

Ampersand Wine Bar closed in 2017. The location was attractive to Sprowl because its infrastructure could easily be modified to support her new business. 

“I found the perfect space to have my business,” she said. 

Additional menu items planned include a hummus board and bread and oil.

“It’ll be small plates but nothing too extensive,” Sprowl said.

Wines, beers and spirits and ingredients will be sourced from local Chicago distributors, she said. 

“Part of that is I want to help decrease our carbon footprint a little bit,” she said. 

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