Jill Rostine’s New Year began with one very sweet resolution already checked off her list: the opening of her new Columbia bakery and dessert bar, Good Food Co. Rostine’s from-scratch eatery is nestled in downtown Columbia, Missouri, next to Fretboard Coffee. Her wish is for her bake shop to be an incubator for delicious memories – memories tasty enough to rival those with even the most schmaltz.

“I’m very driven by the nostalgia of baking, and how people are connected with memories through food,” she says. “Like an orange roll with the cream-cheese frosting – everybody remembers making those with the biscuits in the pop can. That's a distinct memory [for many], but I want to make that my orange roll with this great brioche dough and orange zest that I’ve just grated. I’m taking it up a level in that way.”

Each morning the glass pastry case will be filled with treats, many made from brioche, Good Food Co.’s mother dough. Pastries both savory and sweet, such as orange rolls, classic cinnamon rolls, brioche rolls stuffed with ham and Cheddar, or heirloom tomato and Parmesan, will embrace shifting seasonal flavors. Custom cakes will also be available to order, along with breads, muffins and cookies.

In the evenings, from Thursday through Saturday, the bakery will transform into something Columbia hasn’t seen before: a dessert bar. The takeaway menu will feature restaurant-style desserts – think decadent flourless chocolate cake; rich, creamy cheesecakes; and tempting tarts. It will pair well, Rostine says, with an evening out downtown.

Her focus on crafting these desserts with the utmost care and quality stems from her time spent in restaurant kitchens – including, most recently, Sycamore – over the past 16 years. “I know that the dessert menu [often] doesn’t get the level of attention I think it should get,” she says. “Many restaurants don’t employ a pastry chef, and those desserts just get added to the prep list with all the other things. I think dessert menus in general at restaurants are sort of lackluster, and they don’t necessarily change with what’s in season, and that’s the kind of thing that I’m really passionate about.”

Rostine will use her experience and passion for freshness to create good-for-you and just plain good-tasting confections. She sources many of her ingredients from the Columbia Farmers' Market, where she sold her baked goods during the last season, and if she’s not buying from local farmers, she’s finding an even more trusted fount. “The pecans come from my family’s own farm,” she says. “They have pecan trees growing wild where I grew up, and so I source the pecans there because I think they’re the best ones.”

A combination of quality and nostalgia – the Good Food Co. mantra – will remain steadfast with Rostine at the helm. “The way that I do things is focused on quality,” she says. “I don’t take any shortcuts. I make everything from scratch; I buy real butter. My baked goods are far less sweet and more flavor-driven…there’s nothing in there that’s a filler or a word you can’t pronounce or any of those things.”

Good Food Co. is open Thursday through Monday from 7am to 1pm. The dessert bar is open Thursday through Saturday from 7 to 11pm.

Good Food Co., 1023 E. Walnut Ste. 7, Columbia, Missouri, 573.355.0188, facebook.com/jillbakesgoodcakes/

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Jessica is a freelance writer based in Columbia, Missouri. She lives by the words of M.F.K. Fisher: "First we eat, then we do everything else."

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