Food and community go hand and hand, and when you throw in nostalgia, few can resist. Granny’s Baking Table in Springfield is a nod to the past. Their mission is to create a space that harken to simpler times, when baking was done from scratch and the table was for gathering and conversation.  

Owners Sonya Yelder and Todd Crosset will be the first to admit that operating a business based on small-batch baking and going up against national chain coffee shops is far from easy. But their commitment is based on a belief that the best way to return downtown Springfield to its glory days is by doing exactly what they are doing. 

Producer Dave Fraser brings us the story. 


Read the Full Transcript:

Zydalis Bauer, Connecting Point: Food and community go hand in hand, and when you throw in nostalgia, few can resist.

Granny’s Baking Table in Springfield is a nod to the past. Their mission is to create a space that harkens to simpler times, when baking was done from scratch and the table was for gathering and conversation.

Owner Sonya Yelder and Todd Crosset will be the first to admit that operating a business based on small-batch baking and going up against national chain coffee shops is far from easy. But their commitment is based on a belief that the best way to return downtown Springfield to the way it was is by doing exactly what they are doing.

Producer Dave Fraser brings us the story.

Dave Fraser, Connecting Point: It’s 5:30 a.m. as the sun begins to rise over Springfield. Sonya Yelder and Todd Crosset have been at work for more than an hour in a tiny kitchen at 309 Bridge Street.

They tiptoe around each other in some pretty tight quarters, sharing one oven in a building that was once a former dress shop.

Sonya Yelder, Granny’s Baking Table: It is working out of a food truck, and that’s the only way I can describe the kitchen we have, is working out of a food truck. Like, it’s small.

We produce as much as we can out of a small space that we have, and it works.

Dave Fraser: Up front, Sonya makes biscuits, pies, and muffins while Todd works with laminated dough on the back table, making croissants and Danish.

Sonya Yelder: When you first come in, we don’t really talk. We just kind of do our own thing. You know, I got my own stuff and I’m like, this, this, this, this. And then he’s back there talking to himself and which I don’t do.

Todd Crosset, Granny’s Baking Table: These are Danishes. This is a Danish dough.

Dave Fraser: The two opened Granny’s Baking Table in November of 2019 in downtown Springfield, just a few months before a pandemic would all but wipe out their customer base as many businesses kept their employees at home.

Sonya Yelder: Maybe not the best time to open. You know, you look back on things and you’re probably in a couple of years, I’ll look back and go, “Maybe it was the best time for to open, you know, because now we can say we survived a pandemic.”

Dave Fraser: Just last month, Granny’s had their official grand opening, complete with a ribbon cutting and a visit from the mayor. Both Sonya and Todd grew up in Springfield and recognize that downtown has changed a lot over the years.

Sonya Yelder: This was the place to be. This was where people shop. This is where people, you know, dine, this is where people hung out. This is where they did everything, and it went away.

Todd Crosset: Some consultant once called downtown Springfield pale and stale. And I’d always complained about downtown Springfield because it was kind of boring.

And one day I just said, “Well, what are you doing about it, Todd?”

Dave Fraser: He started selling beignets, a French pastry featuring dough and powdered sugar from a bicycle with a sidecar.

Meanwhile, Sonya was running her own sandwich shop in the city’s Forest Park neighborhood. The two partnered up to form Granny’s Baking Table, named after Sonya’s grandmother.

Sonya Yelder: My grandmother was one of those rise at the crack of dawn. She made biscuits from scratch. You know, you can still years — many because she’s passed for many years now — taste like cakes that she made. I can still taste those things.

Dave Fraser: Granny’s is a bit of a blast from the past. There is a simple menu displayed on a chalkboard. There are old black and white pictures on the wall. Some are of family members, others of random individuals that reflect the diversity of the city and its downtown.

There is one long table for people to sit at and oh yeah, no WiFi.

Sonya Yelder: Regardless of naysayers in the beginning that “oh no, people are not going to go for that.” You know, they want little tiny, you know, so they can sit.”

I’m like, “Yeah, that’s not what I want.” You know, I want people to sit around and have a conversation and get to know each other.

Todd Crosset: You know, food can bring people together. It can cross divides. It’s a cultural phenomenon that breaks down barriers.

And you add a table like this, one family table, and you put really good food in front of people and everybody’s enjoying it. People who would not normally talk to each other, talk to each other.