At the new Southside Bakery on Congress, a light-up "OPEN" sign sits on the table by the door, longing for the day it can hang in the window and beckon customers who long for the classic Southside burger and sweets they couldn't find just less than a year ago.
Sammy and Gerry Guilbeaux are leading the charge on a new Southside that will be bigger and better than either of the bakery's previous two locations.
"It's the original Southside Bakery," says Sammy. "It's the same food, but we're going to add more sandwiches and party trays," plus all of the sugary goodness that he bakes alongside his wife Gerry and his daughters Penny and Samara.
"I reopened because my daughters needed jobs!" laughs Sammy. He plans on passing the reins to his daughters "when they learn enough" about baking and running the business. Penny and Gerry decorate the cakes, and Gerry is responsible for the painted gingerbread men and women all over the bakery's pink walls. The square footage in the Congress Street location is significantly more than previous locations, with a separate room specifically for cake decorating - and they're expanding to include wedding cakes that Penny assures will have tasty, thin fondant: "If you missed the products Southside used to have, we will be back and more."
But the "more" part is a surprise that customers will have to wait for until the bakery opens in early February. The Guilbeaux family was unable to open a bakery sooner because of Sammy's heart problems, which resulted in open heart surgery just after they closed the last location. Sammy says his heart is healing, though.
"The Heart Hospital fixed the mechanical part, and God will take care of the rest," he says, referring to the family split that resulted in his twin sons opening Twins on Johnston Street in the previous Southside location.
"We wish our brothers well. We're sad we couldn't continue working as a family," says Penny. Of the new location, she continues, "We're ready, I'm excited. It's a family-oriented atmosphere, for their kids and the next generation and the next generation - forever. We're here to stay."
The Guilbeaux family, from left: Samara, Sammy, Gerry and Penny
Find the new Southside Bakery at 4519 W. Congress St., in the old Comeaux's location.