16-year-old to open new Sugar and Sage Bakery in University Park

April 17, 2023
Dallas Morning News

The theme here is “ooey gooey” sweets in a sophisticated bakery and coffee shop.

You could say 16-year-old Ashley Sage Weinstein is a little sweet, a little salty. She’s a driven sophomore at Greenhill School in Addison who wants to study neuroscience in college. But before she does that, she’ll open a bakery with her mom Alison Weinstein on Lovers Lane in University Park.

Sugar and Sage Bakery is expected to open April 29, 2023, with a menu of croissants, doughnuts, cupcakes and focaccia. Espressos will be made from an Australian Aremde coffee machine, and coffee beans come from Dallas shop Noble Coyote. Each sweet treat was tasted and approved by Ashley and her friends. They aren’t her recipes, though: While Ashley “came into the world loving to bake,” her mom says, they hired serious talent with Jill Bates, who was the executive pastry chef at Fearing’s in Dallas from 2007 to 2019.

“Ooey gooey” was one of the things the Weinsteins kept saying as they met with Bates to taste chocolate chip cookies, brownies and cheesecakes. Sugar and Sage will be a sleek and sophisticated spot for those driving through the Park Cities to stop and send work emails or schedule a business meeting. But it was also created by and for teenagers. Highland Park High School is across the street.

“She’s very much a part of the target market of this bakery,” Alison says of her teen daughter. And Ashley was highly involved. “Honestly, it’s a dream,” she says. “It’s uncommon for a 16-year-old girl to open a bakery with her mom. I think it
goes to show you that if you have a dream, it can happen.”

Ashley’s wish to open a bakery was stoked five years ago when the family visited Patisserie Chanson in New York City and was delighted by the kouignamann, a buttery and sugary puff pastry. “We looked at each other and said, ‘We should start a bakery,’” says Alison, a former TV journalist. The mother-daughter duo then teamed up with Bates, who coordinated on some of the new Dallas bakery’s recipes with famed pastry chef Michael Laiskonis, formerly of Le Bernardin. Bates has since hired sous pastry chef Johnny Evans for Sugar and Sage. He worked with her at Fearing’s for 10 years.

Cupcake Ashley is eager to have a dessert shop with ingredients she can enjoy. Since age 2, Ashley has had a severe peanut allergy and she keeps an EpiPen within reach. “I learned to love to bake at home because that was the safest option for me,” Ashley says. Sugar and Sage will not use peanuts in any of its recipes, which means — for once — Ashley will be able to eat everything on the menu. She and her mom joke: “We will be full of gluten, full of sugar, full of butter!” Customers may never notice the bakery isn’t using peanuts.

Indeed, the bakery is a stylish and sugar-obsessed place. There’s no sign of the pilates studio that was once here, as firm Wallace Johnson has designed cute cupcake wallpaper and a long bar where treats will be on display. Ashley is already envisioning her friends out back on the turfed patio, taking pictures and snacking. “It’s been very cool to see it all come together,” Ashley says.

Sugar and Sage Bakery is at 4314 Lovers Lane, Dallas. It’s expected to open April 29, 2023 and the grand opening is slated for May 6, 2023.

Sara Blaskovich