Woman making cookies for nearly a decade opens bake shop after being on Oprah’s Favorite Things list

Abu Mubarik February 14, 2024
Photo via tonyacouncil.com/press

In 2021, entrepreneur Tonya Council’s Pecan Crisp Cookie was featured in “Oprah’s Favorite Things” list. After two years, Council launched her own bake shop, Tonya’s Cookies & Bake Shop.

The business is located in the Chapel Hill shopping center, The Galleria. It is a 1,200-square-foot bake shop with a limited menu, selling cookies, pies and cakes. According to The News & Observer, the shop will soon add a cafe component, selling soups and sandwiches for lunch.

Council’s journey is a continuation of her family’s cooking legacy. She first started her cooking journey at her grandmother’s legendary Chapel Hill restaurant, Mama Dip’s Kitchen. The facility was known for traditional Southern dishes and desserts.

Council’s first celebrated cookie was her Pecan Crisp which was inspired by Mama Dip’s perfected pecan pie. According to The News & Observer, she has been selling the cookies for nearly a decade before it was named in Oprah’s influential Favorite Things list in 2021.

Council has operated pop-up and permanent shops in Crabtree Valley Mall and in downtown Raleigh since 2017. She sees the launch of her bake shop as a return to Chapel Hill.

“Being from Chapel Hill, my family has always been really big in the community here,” Council said. “I wanted to open the shop where I grew up. Chapel Hill has seen a lot of growth and we have a lot of customers in Chapel Hill. I decided it was time to bring it back home.”

In a post on LinkedIn, Council said, “I started out selling my cookies at grandma’s restaurant in the dessert case and eventually I sold them at culinary and trade shows. The orders for these sweet treats were in such demand I had to add some additional flavored cookies to the line.”

Currently, her offerings include Peppermint Chocolate Pecan Crisps, Sweet Potato Cornmeal Muffins, Red Velvet Babycake, and Candied Bacon Donuts.

Last Edited by:Mildred Europa Taylor Updated: February 14, 2024

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