Black Market Bakers Celebrates 3rd Birthday In Anne Arundel County
ANNE ARUNDEL COUNTY, MD - Black Market Bakers celebrated its third birthday this month. The Anne Arundel County eatery started in a food truck before opening shops in Edgewater and Annapolis.
"It all started in the big a-- food trailer," Black Market Bakers said Aug. 3 on Facebook. "Love you all. Happy three years of BMB. It's been amazing. "
The family-owned bakery is popular for its towering sweets and bread made fresh daily. With creative pastries and a stint on a TV baking show, the eatery blossomed into one of the hottest spots in the Edgewater.
Black Market Bakers capitalized on this popularity and opened a second location this year at the Port Annapolis Marina.
"We really try to have an inclusive environment," co-founder Steve O'Leary told Patch in an exclusive interview earlier this year. "We want Black Market to be special."
Black Market Bakers gets its name from O'Leary's early days of professional baking. O'Leary baked bread at home during the COVID-19 pandemic. His mother sold and delivered the loaves personally, leading some to call it a "black market" for bread.
O'Leary launched Black Market Bakers soon after with his older brother, Brendan, and their father, Tom.
The business opened in a food truck in August 2020. The O'Learys parked their truck outside Chevys Fresh Mex in Annapolis, which the family also owns. With restaurants facing pandemic capacity restrictions, the food truck was an instant hit.
Black Market Bakers got an even bigger break when O'Leary and his dad competed on Season 1 of "Baking It," a cooking show streaming on Peacock. The contest was hosted by actors Andy Samberg and Maya Rudolph.
O'Leary said the competition happened exactly as it appeared on TV. There were no scripted conflicts, and the contestants did not get any extra time. The father-son duo even befriended their opponents along the way. O'Leary still talks with the other teams on a weekly basis.
The O'Learys advanced to the finals of the show, which aired in December 2021, but they did not take home the crown. After three weeks of filming in Los Angeles, the O'Learys returned to Anne Arundel County determined to raise the bar for Black Market Bakers.
"The honest representation of our personalities made it so that people felt a deepened love for the community that we're trying to build," O'Leary said of their time on the TV show. "That's what made it worth it."
The Annapolis natives took the next step in April 2022 and opened their brick-and-mortar shop in Edgewater at 155 Mitchells Chance Road.
The O'Learys eventually pivoted away from the food truck and embraced the bakery full-time.
Black Market Bakers had 35 employees as of this spring, helping the business whip up homemade delicacies each day.
The blueberry lemon scone is the bestseller, accounting for 1,000 sales per week.
The bakery's most popular pastry is the cruffin, a croissant mixed with a muffin. This dough is stuffed with sweets and drizzled with sugary sauces.
The O'Learys sell about 800 cruffins every week. That's a feat because each batch takes about 36 hours to make.
"So much time, effort and love goes into those," O'Leary said.
The oatmeal cream pies are another favorite. They started out as a special, but their popularity forced Black Market Bakers to add them to the permanent menu.
The bakery is also expanding its bread production. Bread sales have doubled since December 2022, O'Leary said.
Guests love all these homemade recipes, so they keep coming back for more.
Patch spoke with Carol Walker during her second visit to Black Market Bakers.
The Shady Side resident had heard about the bakery for a long time, so she decided to pay a visit. Now, she tries to swing by whenever she's in Edgewater.
"They had a line that was practically out the door," Walker told Patch. "There was so much in there, I couldn't make up my mind."
Walker eventually settled on the Caprese sandwich and the cinnamon crumb cake.
"The people in there are wonderful," she said, applauding the family ownership. "That even brings it up in my estimation."
Rick Woodhouse, another regular customer, also loves Black Market Bakers. Woodhouse and his wife come once a week to stock up on bread and pastries.
"This reminds me of the neighborhood bakeries in Europe," the Arnold resident said.
Woodhouse, a Canadian Air Force veteran, loves the chocolate croissants. His wife prefers the almond ones.
"My wife and I usually devour them pretty quickly," Woodhouse said.
Patrons now have another location to visit at 7074 Bembe Beach Road in Annapolis.
This growth is an encouraging sign for bakers, who recently battled elevated ingredient prices. Eggs were especially challenging. These prices doubled in less than a year thanks to a limited supply stemming from a highly contagious bird flu.
Black Market Bakers has weathered the storm and remained profitable, however.
With a resilient team and dedicated supporters, O'Leary is confident that the second bakery will be as popular as the first.
"We have an incredible, incredible customer base," O'Leary said.
Do you know a business that's opening, expanding or closing in Anne Arundel County? Email firstname.lastname@example.org with the details.
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