By Taylor Piper and Taylor Holt
Posted: Sunday, April 6, 2014
At 3523 W. Fullerton Ave. in Logan Square, a quaint storefront welcomes customers into a homey vintage pastry boutique.
Ana Katsenios, the 29-year-old store owner and baker, started Paper Moon Pastry with the goal of creating a unique, comfortable candy land atmosphere while supporting local entrepreneurs.
“The look of my store is a Goth 90’s riot girl, Martha Stewart took over Willy Wonka’s punk rock chocolate factory, and had a farmers market,” Katsenios said.
Her iPod plays a mix of tunes ranging from oldies to indie punk. The windowsill displays a vintage desk and old typewriter lighted by Christmas lights and modern fixtures giving off a comfy, thrift store vibe, while contributing her own identity to the shop.
Customers walk into the small store and find a combination of walls lavished with colorful, eye catching artwork by local artists, collections of homemade jewelry, candles and products, all framing the front case featuring Katsenios’ latest baked goods.
The importance of supporting her local vendors is shown through the wide variety of products the store sells and by the market fairs she holds each month.
“Part of the way I was going to raise money and gain exposure, I decided to start doing these monthly markets and invite craftspeople. People that I felt like were like me, one person who makes one thing and is really passionate about it, Katsenios said. “I want to showcase that and make a big deal of it because I feel really connected to that. The markets ended up looking really similar to the feel of my store. People were just sort of like, ‘Oh, I could just leave it here’. And it occurred to me that having a gift shop and pastries made sense.”
With renovations completed less than a week ago to incorporate seating, Paper Moon’s opening has been a steady work in progress.
The first stages of Paper Moon Pastry began over four years ago, operating from an apartment on Logan Boulevard as a wholesale bakery. From that, she’s come to own a space in Logan Square that was an ideal location because of its affordability and her personal vision for the pastry boutique.
The “Paper Moon” inspiration came from the restaurant Ana’s father, Bobby Katsenios, started with her uncle in Chicago when she was younger. Being involved in cooking and food service for the majority of her life has fueled this passion for the service she provides to her customers.
On her journey, Katsenios gained experience from working in several cake shops, restaurants and bakeries throughout the U.S. while traveling before returning to Chicago in 2009.
“The desserts I was making at the time when I won the Metromix award weren’t plated, they weren’t molecular. What I was doing was making the most full flavored traditional desserts and serving them by the slice from whole products,” she said.
This is the same concept she has taken and applied to the pastry products she currently sells in her shop.
With all these accomplishments however, being a small business owner will always have its obstacles.
“The entire concept of being a small business owner is challenging,” Katsenios said. “Everything is challenging from creating the product to managing, so it really has to be something you find rewarding and think it’s worth it.”
Before owning her permanent shop space, Katsenios would visit events, bars, and farmers markets to spread the word personally about her products and vision.
She could be spotted all over town pulling her handmade Pastry Wagon, both displaying and transporting any array of her vegan treats, which have been carried in businesses such as New Wave, the Dill Pickle, Café Mustache , Township as well as the Logan Theatre, all after she independently developed these relationships.
“She really is a hustler in the good sense of that word,” said Dana Norden, a buyer at The Dill Pickle Co Op, in a recent interview on the Indiegogo website.
Residents of Logan Square and various customers also expressed their appreciation for her hard work and delicious pastries in recent reviews.
“I’m not vegan myself, but I’ve had plenty of vegan baked goods and desserts, and am not usually impressed. These were better than most I’ve ever had. She also was selling a cup of metropolis coffee for $1. If you live in the area, you should definitely stop in and support the business,” said Johnathan Adler.
“Ana is an ingenious creator and baker with an unmatched work ethic,” said Tino Valentino.
With over 15 other bakeries located in Logan Square alone, how is the new addition standing out?
Well, Paper Moon Pastry not only offers 100 percent vegan baked goods that she alone makes from scratch, but the shop also proudly exhibits Katsenios’ devotion to supporting her fellow local businesses.
Katsenios explained how the items featured on the selves of her store are from hardworking business owners like herself that reach out with an interest of support.
“The idea of having a gift shop mixed with pastries just makes sense,” Katsenios said. “People could come in and get pastries and a little item to go with it.”
Her business has ranged from selling products in her shop to catering for events held inside and outside of her shop. Her products range from pies, cookies and brownies to custom orders for cakes. She also makes cakes for special events, like the recent order of a two-tier pretzel caramel fudge and honey lavender butter anniversary cake.
“I keep my cake designs simple. I want the cake to actually look like a cake and not get too fancy with designing it,” Katsenios said. “I like for all my products to look familiar even if they’re weird.” For example, her current sweet potato curry potpie sits in the display case next to the apple crumb pie.
Beyond her love for baking, Katsenios’ dream to create a space beneficial for all those who supported her journey holds a special place in her heart.
In December of last year, she launched an Indiegogo campaign, which raised $4,375 to officially open the Logan Square storefront that is now Paper Moon Pastry’s permanent home.
While sitting on the custom bench funded with the campaign money, Katsenios said, “This is really it. This is what I wanted. I don’t want a diner or anything. This is kind of it.”
Return to home page
Feedback: Contact the reporter via Twitter or leave a comment below.