The name is a mouthful, but the concept of Lawrenceville’s Butterwood Bake Consortium is simple. “It’s sort of inspired by Austrian/Viennese coffee shops,” explains owner/baker Ally Slayden. But while the shop offers beverages from Munhall’s Klvn Coffee Lab, the focus is dessert. And thanks to unusually long hours — from 8 or 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. most days — it’s a welcome after-dinner (or cake-for-breakfast) destination.
Since it opened in late October, most of its business has been word-of-mouth. “It’s got people talking because there’s nothing like it,” Slayden says, noting that, while many restaurants offer excellent sweets, some diners might feel awkward skipping straight to the last course. “It definitely helps that there’s not really major competition for dessert at night.”
The menu changes daily, featuring inventive offerings like buttermilk honey cake with vanilla-honey buttercream and, Slayden’s favorite, a basic chocolate cake with pistachio buttercream. And thanks to animal-product-free versions of favorites like chocolate pot de crème and pear cobbler, vegans account for some of the bakery’s most loyal customers.
With its low-key Victorian décor and warm service, the Butterwood Bake Consortium is just fancy enough to match the beautiful desserts, which makes it a great place for a date. “I’ve seen a lot of couples come in to have coffee and share a piece of cake,” Slayden says. “That’s exactly what I’d hoped, that … it would be a place you could hang out for an hour and talk.”