Zinnia’s Bakehouse: Summer food series

This is the second post in Green Light’s Summer Food Series, featuring area eateries with an Ivy Tech Northeast connection. Last week, we featured Donna Kessler at Calhoun Street Soups, Salads, and Spirits.

Who: Krystal Hernandez, co-owner at Zinnia’s Bakehouse (1320 E. State Blvd.) and former hospitality administration student

Hernandez with baklava from Zinnia's Bakeshop
Hernandez with baklava from Zinnia’s Bakehouse

How: When Hernandez graduated from Elmhurst High School (1929 to 2010, RIP Trojans) in 2007, she had scholarships lined up from big culinary schools including Johnson & Wales University and Le Cordon Bleu, she says. However, when her mother was diagnosed with breast cancer, she knew she wanted to stay close to home–so she enrolled at Ivy Tech Northeast.

Through dual-credit classes and classes at Anthis Career Center, she already had College credit, making the choice an easy one.

“I wouldn’t change it,” she says. “The experience that I learned from the instructors I had, it’s incomparable.”

Hernandez got an internship at the former Yum-Mee’s Bakery, which turned into a job. Later, when Yum-Mee’s owners left, they sold the bakery to Hernandez.

“I was thinking, let’s just see where this goes,” she says. “I never would have expected this out of that.”

Click on the image to zoom and for full caption info.

What: Zinnia’s offers cupcakes and cookies, but its most popular items are the apple empanadas, chorizo empanadas, (an empanada is a Mexican-style turnover with a flaky pastry crust and sweet or savory fillings) and the ranchero quiche, which is vegetarian. The bakeshop offers beignets on Saturdays, which are also popular. (Think puffy, cube-shaped doughnuts doused in powdered sugar. So much yes.) Zinnia’s also has commercial orders at Brava’s Burgers and Who Cut the Cheese?

How long: Zinnia’s will celebrate its two-year anniversary in August, but Hernandez made her first wedding cake when she was 14.

Why “Zinnia’s”: People sometimes ask, “Who’s Zinnia? Is she here?” The name is simply a colorful daisy Hernandez likes.

The summer food series will be off next Friday for Independence Day. Stop back July 10 for the next installment. Happy eating!

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