Local bakery voted top “sweet spot” in Missouri by customers

Nathaniel Reid Bakery

Cheryl Baehr

Nathaniel Reid is used to acclaim.

The world-class pastry chef and owner of Nathaniel Reid Bakery has been racking up awards for years now, winning such accolades as Pastry Chef of the Year by the U.S. Pastry Competition, Travel & Leisure’s nod for Best Sandwich in Missouri and two James Beard Award nominations for Outstanding Baker.

However, his most recent recognition – being selected as one of the top dessert spots in the U.S. and Canada and the Number One Sweet Spot in Missouri by Yelp – is particularly satisfying because of the source.

“It’s super awesome because this is customer driven,” Reid says. “There are the critical reviews and acclaim, and then there are the ones that come from customers. Both are important, but I have to say the customer one feels more so. They are the ones who come in every day, and they are why we are here. Our goal is to give good service to our customers, and though I think I have a pretty good barometer of what we are doing, it’s nice to hear from them. I can’t tell you how flattering it is to know that we are the number one sweet spot in Missouri, when you consider all the ice cream places, doughnut shops, chocolatiers. We’re very pumped.”

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Yelp announced its picks for the top dessert spots across the U.S. and Canada last week, basing its rankings on several factors, including the total volume and ratings of reviews. Nathaniel Reid Bakery came out on top for the state of Missouri thanks, in part, to its five-star rating, which has remained consistent since the bakery opened in 2016. As Reid explains, he believes the key to the bakery’s success goes beyond the excellent pastries his kitchen produces; it has to do with the overall atmosphere he and his team create.

“What I hope to make the place, and what I think it has always been, is a place anybody feels comfortable coming into,” Reid says. “I’ve worked at all of these very exclusive places that are hard for people to eat at, but here, I wanted to make exclusive products in a non-exclusive setting. That’s the whole dream of a community bakery; we have a price point where can you have little these little bursts of joy or one of best things in the city for five or six bucks. I think there is a relatability to the place because of the range of products and the and invitingness of it. It’s a place for the community, and the community is everyone.”

Reid began his journey to the top of the pastry world when he was a college student at Mizzou. Having planned to study biology his entire life, he decided to change course after an internship in his prospective field left him questioning his career path. At the suggestion of his mother, he decided to pursue the culinary arts, enrolling in the pastry program at the prestigious Le Cordon Bleu in Paris. His talent was evident, and he found himself working at some of the world’s most exclusive properties, including the Ritz-Carlton and Joël Robuchon’s restaurants in Las Vegas, and the St. Regis in southern California.

Reid realized his dream of opening his own neighborhood pastry shop in 2016 with the launch of Nathaniel Reid Bakery in Kirkwood. Even in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has presented unprecedented challenges for hospitality professionals, Reid still feels lucky to be doing what he loves and is flattered that, as the Yelp award shows, it is resonating with people.

“I try to take the most positive approach to whatever is given to me,” Reid says. “I don’t deal the cards, but I play the hand I am dealt and try to do that the best I possibly can. As a business owner and leader, this is a unique opportunity to challenge yourself and rise to the occasion. I feel like it is easy to be good at things when everything falls into place, but now, I am very proud of how we have responded. I want to keep giving customers what they’ve come to know and expect. Under any circumstance, that’s what we will strive to do.”