Those with a sweet tooth have two new places in Wheeling to get a fix: Bite Me Bakery and Lucky Candies 2.
Bite Me Bakery
Located at 2137 Market Street in historic Centre Market, Bite Me Bakery is owned and operated by Courtney King. King, who is originally from Dunkirk, New York, relocated to the area from Cleveland when her husband Zack accepted a job offer in Wheeling three years ago. And while she and Zack are relatively new to the area, King is not new to baking.
“I have been baking for as long as I can remember,” King said. “I was always in the kitchen with my grandparents and mom, especially during the holidays.”
“The first thing I remember being able to bake was the simple sugar cookie,” King continued.
She said she and her mother would bake dozens of the sugar cookies for decorating parties with her cousins when she was a child. She is still using her mother’s recipe to this day.
Though King’s love of baking started at a young age, her professional career in baking did not start until five years ago. King decided to make a change in her life and left her previous job to work at Kelsey Elizabeth Cakes, a Cleveland-area boutique bakery. It was here that King learned the ins and outs of a commercial kitchen and retail space.
After moving to Wheeling and exploring different neighborhoods, King said the Centre Market property called to her and ignited her desire to open her own bakery.
“I have always loved classic architecture with all the character and charm, and the space had that in spades from the facade to the ceilings,” King said. “I knew that it would be the perfect canvas for the vision I had in mind – calming yet edgy and quirky.”
King said the bakery’s name is inspired by a personal philosophy she’s held since a young age.
“I have always been unapologetically myself, having been raised by a strong, single mother and protective older brothers,” King said. “I learned young that if someone does not like you or something you believe in, you should just say ‘Bite me.’ and walk away with your head held high.”
King continued, “When I heard someone say my baked goods were so delicious and beautiful that you just need to take a bite out of it, I knew that I needed to name my bakery ‘Bite Me’.”
King said she wanted her menu to be filled with fun takes on fresh, homemade classics. The most popular items in the bakery are fresh donuts, French macarons and mini loaves, which is King’s version of a muffin. All menu items can be custom-made by order, with the exception of donuts. King has been busy filling orders for occasion cakes, macarons and other cookies since Bite Me opened on October 15.
“So many places make wonderful sweets; however, the concept of truly homemade and not boxed or artificial is a lost art,” King said. “I have taken classic family favorite recipes, flavor combos and concepts and have given them my own personal, quirky twist.”
Wheeling resident Andrea Hicks has had the opportunity to taste some of the treats at Bite Me. She said she was impressed by both the space and the food.
“The décor was perfect, and the cookie was chewy and delicious,” Hicks said. “I also tried the vegan blondie, and it was great.”
Hicks is currently running the bakery herself with some help from her husband and a few friends. As an early riser, Hicks noticed that not many places are open early in the morning, and she decided to set her hours to fill that gap. Bite Me’s current hours are Monday, Tuesday, Friday and Saturday from 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Sunday from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. The bakery is closed on Wednesdays and Thursdays.
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King said that she would love to see the business expand in the future by adding to her front and back-of-house teams and, eventually, opening multiple locations in the area. She credits her success so far to the support of the friends and family who have helped her to this point.
“Coming from a large city like Cleveland, having the support of a small-town community has been overwhelming,” King said. “Since moving here, we have met so many amazing people who have gone above and beyond to help my family open our shop.”
Lucky Candies 2
Just north of Centre Market, the Plaza on Market continues to be a foodie destination with the opening of Lucky Candies 2 on November 1. After successfully opening their original location in Belle Vernon, Pa. in April 2021, owners Anton Drake, Anissa Drake and Bill Malie are excited to try their luck in Wheeling. Their new shop is located at 1061 Market Street.
Anton, who lives in Lansing, heard of the open retail space at the Plaza on Market from friend and owner of nearby DL’s Hair and Clothing, Janette Rideout. Rideout knew Anissa, Anton’s sister, and Malie had recently opened Lucky Candies in Belle Vernon and suggested Wheeling might make a great choice for a second location.
Anton had been a stay-at-home father of three until his oldest child started school this year, and he agreed with his friend that now was as good a time as any to open a business. He will manage the Wheeling location while Anissa and Malie continue to oversee day-to-day operations of the Belle Vernon store.
Like the original location, Lucky Candies 2 will carry handmade chocolate confections, nostalgic and retro candy, TikTok trending candy and international treats from the United Kingdom, Germany and more. Drake is also looking forward to bringing Lucky Candies 2 as a pop-up shop to local festivals and events.
Downtown Wheeling investor Dean Connors has owned the Lucky Candies 2 property, located at 1061 Market Street, since April of 2020. He and his team have been prepping the property for its new tenant, as they do for all properties they acquire.
“We removed the old, outdated signage and painted the entire outside of the building and added awnings,” Connors said. “We built an ADA standard restroom and painted the interior for the new store, as well as updated the flooring.” The upgrades to this space are part of Connors’ four-building improvement project at the Plaza on Market. He said he is excited to welcome Lucky Candies 2 to the Plaza.
“This is the kind of small retail that thrives in a mixed commercial/residential district like Downtown Wheeling,” Connors said. “The residents and the commercial tenants here are all a community of sorts – everyone gets along and helps each other out.”
The tentative hours for Lucky Candies 2 will be 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Saturday. Drake advises checking the store’s Facebook page for any futue changes.
• Wheeling native Jennifer Materkoski is a graduate of West Liberty University and Kent State University, where she earned a master’s degree in journalism and mass communications. Before beginning her current role as director of communications and employee engagement for a global business process outsourcing firm, Jennifer worked in local media and non-profit communications. She is a current board member of Generation Wheeling, also chairing the organization’s Work Committee. She lives in Wheeling with her husband, Rich, and her three children: Mason, Mercer and Miller.