Bethany Oakes, owner of Downtown Sweet in Jonesborough, draws from her grandmothers’ recipes and a family tradition of good food to create a bakery that has been busy providing for dessert lovers across the region. A little bit of home cooking, along with a tribute to all things British, has made Downtown Sweet a favorite spot on Main Street.

By CAROLINE HUGHART

H&T Correspondent

As the door opens, a sweet aroma rushes over you. Your eyes are transfixed on the delicate colors of pastries behind the glass. A soft clamoring of an oven can be heard in the background. This is Downtown Sweet.    

Located in downtown Jonesborough, this little bakery is sure to satisfy any sweet tooth.

The sign points the way to a plethora of tasty delicacies.

Owner Bethany Oakes has made it her life’s mission to bring good food and cheer to the world by taking her love of baking and creating the business she has always dreamed of. 

“I wanted to do something like this for pretty much my whole life,” Oakes said. “I love food and I love how it makes people feel. To have good quality sweets has been my aim in life.”

The bakery opened in January of last year and has been thriving ever since. Although Oakes has always loved baking, she never thought it would turn into a professional trade.

“I grew up baking,” Oakes said. “My grandmothers were all really talented in the kitchen. I never really considered doing it professionally, but it’s been really good.”

From candy, shown above, to pies shown in the inset, Downtown Sweet offers a bit of everything.

From tea cakes to truffles, this shop offers a wide variety of delicacies inspired by the owner’s roots and personal experience with baking growing up.

“Everybody loves home cooking.” Oakes said. “A lot of these are family recipes. I loved my grandmother’s cooking, so we’ve added a lot of things that are tributes to them that I’ve made work.”

Oakes has also included influences from overseas to build her menu. Inspired by her love of the United Kingdom, Oakes says she wanted to implement something from this culture into her bakery and give people a taste of British customs.    

“We say we like to do international baking with a southern twist,” Oakes said. “We offer an afternoon tea experience or a high tea. It’s by reservation only. People take their tea, sandwiches and sweets and hang out.”

Because she wants to give her customers the best possible experience, Oakes ensures that whatever ingredients she uses are the product of fair trade. Not only does this improve the quality of her food, it also promotes a fair business model.

“I want good quality ingredients,” Oakes said. “We do fair trade chocolate primarily because it’s incredible quality chocolate, and we don’t ever want to be people that profit off of labor where people aren’t making fair wages.”

As she looks towards the future, Oakes hopes her business can expand as the town of Jonesborough grows.

“I want to be the Blackbird Bakery of Jonesborough,” Oakes said.  “It’s been really cool not only to see the community’s support but see these dreams inside of me come alive.”

To browse the menu or make a reservation, visit http://www.downtownsweet.com.