Room 39 owners to purchase Sasha’s Baking Co.

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The deal won’t close until the end of February, but Ted Habiger and his wife Jackie Kincaid Habiger, owners of the two Room 39 restaurants in the metro, are going to purchase the two-year-old Sasha’s Baking Co., at 105 West Ninth Street. Some things are already happening: Starting this weekend, the breakfast pastries served at the midtown Room 39 will come from Sasha’s.

The Habigers had been advisers to the bakery’s founding owner, Michelle Schepmann, before the European-style bakery and lunch destination opened. When Schepmann decided to pursue other opportunities, she called them.

“At first I thought, ‘Absolutely no.’ And then I realized that it made a lot of sense to own our own bakery, particularly this bakery,” Ted Habiger says. “But it all hinged on Carter Holton continuing to work with us. I wanted access to a high-quality pastry chef.”

Holton, one of the most creative pastry chefs in Kansas City, has given Sasha’s a distinctive style — and has a long history with the Habigers. Ten years ago, when Holton was starting his professional career, he was the freelance pastry chef for the original Room 39, at 1719 West 39th Street. “I’ve come full circle,” he tells me.

“Carter worked for us for nine months in 2005 before he went off to do his own thing,” Ted Habiger says. “But I continued to follow his career.”

“Ted and Jackie were the ones who suggested that Michelle hire me for the bakery,” Holton says.

Holton will continue as the pastry chef for Sasha’s after the deal closes (and yes, the bakery’s name will stay the same), and will once again be providing the desserts for Room 39. (“First the midtown location, then Leawood,” Ted Habiger says.)

Schepmann says the sale of her business is bittersweet, but she’s excited about the Habigers taking over: “I was very particular about who I wanted to take over this bakery,” she tells me. “I wanted someone who would continue my vision and have the same sense of quality. Sasha’s has become, I think, one of the jewels of downtown Kansas City.”

Jackie Kincaid Habiger will spend more time in the bakery than her husband (who is also overseeing the creation of the restaurant inside the yet-unopened Brewery Emperial at 19th and Oak), but Habiger has plans to streamline the kitchen and change the lunch menu and, he says, “tweak the wine and beer list.”

Categories: Dining, Food & Drink