Sugar & Sage’s executive chef has a pechant for pastry

November 6, 2023
Advocate Lakewood/East Dallas
Jill Bates

Sophisticated yet approachable.

That’s what Alison Weinstein and executive chef Jill Bates aimed for when they created Sugar & Sage Bakery.

The neighborhood patisserie bakes all of its confections in-house, including team favorites like cinnamon “cruffin” brioche feuillette, apricot verbena danish and a mushroom focaccia.

Weinstein’s idea for the bakery began while living in New York, where she grew up and began raising her now-teenage daughter Ashley Sage, an aspiring baker herself. The mother-daughter pair spent their time trying out New York City’s award-winning bakeries, feeling inspired by the kouign-amann at Patisserie Chanson. With one bite of the flaky, salty and sweet pastry, they made the decision — the Weinsteins were opening a bakery.

“It was just super sweet but also salty at the same time, and we joked that it was similar to [Ashley’s] personality,” Weinstein says. “I decided to sign up at the Institute of Culinary Education and found Jill.”

Weinstein paired with Bates, an East Dallas neighbor and former executive pastry chef at Fearing’s at The Ritz Carlton Dallas. While Weinstein was flying back and forth from New York to Dallas in pursuit of opening a bakery in the Preston Hollow area, Bates worked for months with renowned chef Michael Laiskonis on each recipe, perfecting them while still being approachable and organically developed.

Jill Bates
Jill Bates
“I have the most creative team, and we talk every day about what ideas we have,” Bates says. “Menu development was a lot of sitting back and being able to think about how I can make this better, and of course, that’s what we do every day.”

The bright and open bakery also partners with Noble Coyote Coffee, a Dallas-based micro-roaster. The baristas are armed with an Aremde espresso maker, the first of its kind in Dallas. The baristas can whip up any typical coffeehouse creation, plus specialties like the aptly named Brown Sugar Sage Latte.

“[It’s] very high-end, very beautiful and this crowd appreciates that,” Weinstein says. “But also in order for them to dive in, we needed to make it a bit more approachable. A place that was warm and welcoming, where the quality is exceptional, but it’s also just a place to feel good.”

The pair recently added an outdoor patio to the patisserie — something hard to come by on Lovers Lane. The patio is in the back of the shop and features a shaded area fit with bright seating, a freshly painted mural and twinkling lights.

You’ll find moms with extravagant strollers here early in the morning, followed by rushes during breaks for high schoolers and college kids getting their caffeine fix and work-from-homers lining the tables with laptops and headphones.

“It has become a bit of an oasis,” Weinstein says.

Advocate Lakewood/East Dallas

Alyssa High