UPTOWN — Wanda the dog was walking down Broadway with her owner when she stopped in front of a new store: Le Barkery.
The year-and-a-half-old pup prodded her owner to walk into the store, where Wanda proceeded to sniff at the selection of goods at Uptown’s newly opened dog bakery. She even pressed her front paws together as if to say “please.”
“The dogs push their owners over here,” bakery owner Danielle Papakanelou said. “I love dogs. This is just the best business in the world.”
Le Barkery opened Nov. 30 at 4151 N. Broadway. Papakanelou opened the dog-focused bakery after owning Le Cafe, an organic coffeehouse and bakery with locations in Lincoln Square and Uptown. Those businesses have closed.
While at home during the pandemic, Papakanelou, a classically trained pastry chef, was baking for herself and experimenting with making dog biscuits using leftover ingredients.
With the same focus on organic and quality ingredients used at her cafes, Papakanelou thought her baked goods for dogs could lend to a new and useful business model.
“There’s not a lot of products for dogs that we humans have choices for,” she said.
That vision turned into Le Barkery, which sells all-organic dog treats plus pet toys and accessories. The business also has a grooming station neighbors can rent to wash their dogs with all-natural soaps and shampoos.
The baked goods are wheat biscuits made with spelt flour, which produces a heartier product more easily digested by dogs, Papakanelou said. The frosting is yogurt-based. Le Barkery carries a plethora of themed dog biscuits, including Christmas and Hanukkah treats and ones that resemble ice cream cones and birthday cakes.
The treats are made at a local bakery while Papakanelou works to get a license from the Department of Food and Drug Administration to bake on sight. The agency regulates the making of pet foods.
Le Barkery also sells pet accessories, including leashes, and seasonal items like coats and Christmas outfits. There’s also dog and cat toys and products like organic shampoo.
Papakanelou chose to open her dog bakery in Buena Park because the neighborhood is considered to have the most dogs in the city, she said, citing census data.
The dog treat shop is next to Klein’s Bakery & Cafe, which caters to humans. It’s a popular spot for neighbors on dog walks, which naturally brings dogs in proximity to Le Barkery.
From there, the dogs usually do the rest, Papakanelou said.
“We definitely care for the welfare of our dogs,” she said. “It’s about making them feel like they’re part of the family.”
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