LAKEVIEW — Ryann Ibasco and James Cox, life partners and co-owners of Chicago Sugar Daddy Patisserie, which opens this week in Lakeview, got their start in baking at a young age.
Ibasco learned about running a bakery from his parents, who owned one in the Philippines known for its pandesal, a classic Filipino roll stuffed with cheese and other fillings.
Cox’s roots in baking also go back to childhood.
“It started when I was studying culinary arts in high school,” Cox said. “We took a tour of the Palms Casino, and I saw all the dessert plates set up and realized that’s what I wanted to do. From then on I’ve always known I’d one day open up a patisserie shop.”
Ibasco and Cox said they’re fulfilling their childhood dreams by opening Chicago Sugar Daddy, which on Saturday will celebrate its grand opening at 3243 N. Broadway after several months as a pop-up inside Get In the Kitchen, 3617 N. Broadway.
The grand opening celebration starts 1 p.m. and will feature a ribbon-cutting ceremony and performances from local drag queens.
“It hadn’t hit me until [Friday] when the sign went up,” Cox said. “It hit me that this is actually happening and I’m not dreaming. It’s surreal.”
Chicago Sugar Daddy’s menu has everything from traditional sweets like cakes, brownies, truffles, cupcakes and cookies to more savory options like their breads, Cox said.
The store’s cheese pandesal recipe comes from Ibasco’s parents, he said.
“It reminds me of my childhood and takes me back to high school when I would wake up at 4 a.m. because I could smell the pandesal from my room,” Ibasco said. “It was literally my alarm clock.”
The store also does custom orders and wholesale, Cox said.
The store’s name comes from a nickname Ibasco’s friends gave to Cox when the two started dating in 2019, Ibasco said.
“When he started hanging out with my friends, they referred to him as a literal sugar daddy because he was always bringing sweets,” Ibasco said. “We thought it would be a good base for a business name.”
Cox and Ibasco want the business to be involved in giving back to the community through causes that benefit LGBTQ people and immigrants, they said.
The store’s first initiative will be a partnership with nonprofit group Free Mom Hugs, which supports LGBTQ people who aren’t accepted by their families.
“This cause is very close to me personally because I’m Filipino, and in our culture, it’s difficult to be out because being gay is viewed as an offensive term,” Ibasco said.
To support the group, Chicago Sugar Daddy will soon have a specialized cookie that, when sold, will have its proceeds go toward Free Mom Hugs.
Ibasco said the charity initiatives fall in line with their mission to make the store an inclusive, safe space.
“We want everyone to feel welcome here, especially the LGBTQ community,” Ibasco said. “We really envision this space as a hub where everyone can stop in and feel welcomed.”
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